A day after reported mass casual leave by over two lakh government employees in the state, the Haryana Police are on the lookout for the union leaders. Employee unions said Saturday that as many 14 leaders were arrested from Faridabad, while raids were conducted at the houses of other senior leaders Friday night.
Union leaders say that over two lakh employees had gone on strike on Friday in support of Haryana Roadways employees, who are on strike since October 16. Haryana Roadways Employees Coordination Committee said the police had arrested union leaders Inder Singh Badhana, Ajad Singh Gill, Babu Lal Yadav and 11 others from Faridabad.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Haryana DGP B S Sandhu confirmed that the union leaders have been arrested under Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), which the government had invoked earlier.
“Two of the arrested leaders got out on bail, but we will approach the district and sessions court concerned to cancel their bail,” said the DGP. Sources said the government has prepared a list of 15 senior leaders of roadways employees, out of which a few have already been arrested. Some of the arrested persons are also associated with the Sarv Karamchari Sangh — an umbrella body of 102 unions, which had called for the mass casual leave.In a press release Saturday, the union leaders said, “Despite all efforts by the government to suppress the stir, almost 99% of roadways employees observed the strike. The employees are participating in the strike despite arrests, suspension and registration of FIRs against them…”
The roadways employees have gone on strike to oppose the government’s decision to hire 720 buses to be inducted to the fleet of Haryana Roadways, by paying charges on kilometre basis. A government spokesperson said, “As many as 2,405 buses plyed on different routes of Haryana Saturday. As many as 138 drivers and conductors have been suspended and FIRs have been lodged against them under the provisions of ESMA in connection with the strike.”