Another TSRTC worker commits suicide as protests enter 24th day; ex-CPI MLA slams KCR for 'police rule', says indefinite fast will continue
Another employee of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) allegedly committed suicide on Monday at her residence in Telangana's Khammam, taking the number of TSRTC employee suicides to four.
Condemning police action in shifting him to hospital, Sambasiva said Telangana people would not appreciate if the TRS government headed by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao conducted a 'police rule'
Sambasiva also claimed that he was continuing his fast in the hospital
He recalled that he, as MLA, had supported the indefinite fast undertaken by KCR for a separate Telangana
Another employee of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) allegedly committed suicide on Monday at her residence in Telangana's Khammam, taking the number of TSRTC employee suicides to four. Monday marks the 24th day of the protest demanding a merger of the TSRTC with the state government, among other things.
The deceased woman, identified as Neerja, was working as a conductor in the Sattupalli depot of the TSRTC. While the reason for the suicide is not yet known, the family of the deceased has alleged that she committed suicide due to depression following the strike by RTC workers since 5 October, ANI reported.
A case has been registered under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the body has been shifted to a local government hospital for autopsy. The police said that the reason for the suicide will be revealed only after the investigation.
Till now, four RTC employees have committed suicide of which three were drivers working at different RTC depots. Over 49,000 workers have been on strike against the state government's order to sack over 40,000 RTC employees.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, or KCR, has been criticised for his response to the deaths. KCR, earlier Friday, said, "TSRTC workers who have committed suicide are not my responsibility. They are responsible for themselves. We did not ask them to protest. Unions provoked them," Rao said while addressing a press conference in the state capital.
"The fact is, soon the TSRTC will get dissolved and shut down. Nobody can stop this from happening. Merger demand is not accepted at all," the chief minister added.
On 25 October, TSRTC JAC convenor Ashwathama Reddy on Friday said, "This government does not have humanity. They are running the government with the force through police. Due to such statements given by the Chief Minister people are losing lives. All these incidents are not suicides but the murders committed by the government."
On Thursday, an RTC worker named Jameel of Narkatpally Depot died of a heart attack after tensions mounted.
Meanwhile, former CPI MLA K Sambasiva Rao, who began an indefinite fast two days ago in support of the striking employees, was shifted to a government hospital in Hyderabad by police today after concerns over his health.
Sambasiva, who launched his fast Saturday, was admitted to the state-run Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in the early hours of Monday as his blood pressure and sugar levels were down, police said. Sambasiva, however, claimed that he was continuing his fast in the hospital.
Condemning police action in shifting him to hospital, he said the Telangana people would not appreciate if the TRS government headed by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, or KCR conducted a "police rule".
Sambasiva recalled that he, as MLA, supported the indefinite fast undertaken by KCR for a separate Telangana. Former Congress MP V Hanumantha Rao and the leaders of RTC employees unions expressed solidarity with Sambasiva.
RTC employees and the activists of Congress and other Opposition parties held protests on Monday in support of the strike. Talks between the TSRTC management and unions, held on Saturday for the first time since the workers went on strike on 5 October over various demands, failed to achieve a breakthrough as there was no consensus on the agenda.
Different employees and workers unions of TSRTC began the indefinite strike from 5 October across Telangana on a call by the Joint Action Committee (JAC), demanding a merger of RTC with the government and recruitment to various posts, among others.
The striking employees, workers of Opposition parties and others have been organising protests in support of their demands and against the state government. Ruling out discussions with the unions, the government said the stir by nearly 48,000 employees was illegal as they caused immense inconvenience to public.
The high court on 18 October directed the RTC and employees to hold talks and settle all their disputes before 28 October and report to the court about the settlement. Following the directive, the state government decided to examine the demands, other than merger of TSRTC with the government.
The chief minister last Thursday ruled out any discussion on the merger and indicated that more buses would be taken on hire.
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