Leaders of the Left parties and people’s organisations observed a day-long fast here on Thursday in support of the strike by employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), which entered its 13th day.
Several leaders and activists of Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), other Left parties and people’s organisations participated in the mass hunger strike to show solidarity with the striking employees.
CPI-state Secretary Chada Venkat Reddy, CPI-M state Secretary Tammineni Veerabhadram and other leaders paid tributes to two employees, who committed suicide earlier this week to protest the government’s decision to sack 48,000 striking employees.
Professor Nageshwar, eminent academician Chukka Ramaiah, TSRTC Joint Action Committee leader Ashwathama Reddy also addressed the participants.
The speakers blamed the government for the TSRTC running into huge losses. Ashwathama Reddy pointed out that the government is collecting Rs 300 crore as tax on diesel every year. He demanded that the state government waive the tax on diesel as done in Tamil Nadu.
They said that while private buses are allowed to operate on profit-making routes, the TSRTC buses are run on loss-making routes.
Professor Nageshwar said the strike by employees was not for their salaries but for protection of the TSRTC. He alleged that the government is carrying out false propaganda to blame employees for the TSRTC’s losses.
Meanwhile, police arrested scores of students at Osmania University when they were trying to take out a rally to Pragathi Bhavan, the official residence of the Chief Minister, in support of the TSRTC employees. Raising slogans against the government, the students tried to march from Arts College.
However, police locked both the gates of the campus and prevented students from coming out. There was a heated argument between policemen and leaders of student groups like the SFI, the AISF and the PDSU. There was mild tension as the students tried to break the police cordon.