Fresh protests broke outside a hospital in Khammam on Sunday after a driver of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), who set himself ablaze, reportedly in protest against the government not acceding to the demands of the striking employees, succumbed to his injuries, reported news agency ANI.
Srinivas Reddy, who was working at TSRTC’s Khammam depot, and was part of the group of employees on a state-wide strike for the last eight days, died of burn injuries, hospital sources said. Following the incident, tension had prevailed in Khamman as striking employees staged demonstrations outside the hospital and shouted slogans against the KCR government.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has said there was no question of holding talks with the striking employees or taking them back. Rao also directed officials to restore bus services and, if need be, recruit employees and utilise the services of retired RTC and Police department drivers. “The striking employees will not be taken back, come what may,” an official release quoted him as saying.
The government, he said, would not recognise the”illegal and unlawful” strike under any circumstances and there was no question of holding any discussions with those on strike.
TSRTC employees have been on strike since Friday midnight after listing their 26 demands, including the merger of the corporation with the government. An estimated 47,000 TSRTC employees were deemed as sacked as they had failed to rejoin work by 6 pm on October 5 — the deadline set by the state government.
To protest the government’s decision, the striking employees are expected to form a human chain and block traffic on Tuesday. A student union protest and a bike rally are also planned. The employees’ joint action committee has called for a state-wide bandh on October 19.