Striking T’gana RTC driver sets himself on fire, protests surge
Hyderabad: A striking bus driver set himself on fire in Khammam on Saturday even as the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) strike entered the eighth day. The driver, Srinivas Reddy, sustained 90% burns and was rushed to a government hospital where his condition is stated to be critical.
Srinivas doused himself in kerosene and set himself on fire at his home. His son rushed to his rescue, but he too suffered injuries and was hospitalised. Following the tragedy, the joint action committee of RTC unions in Khammam called for a bandh in the district on Sunday.
As news of the self-immolation spread, the striking employees went on the rampage and damaged six buses. A temporary driver was also assaulted. RTC unions alleged that Srinivas resorted to the extreme step as he was troubled by the announcement of the government that the employees had ‘self dismissed’ themselves by resorting to the strike. RTC joint action committee leader Ashwathama Reddy later appealed to the striking employees not to take extreme steps.
Srinivas belonged to Ramachandrapuram village in Nelakondapalli mandal and was posted at the Khammam bus depot. In a video from his hospital bed, he is heard saying all 48,000 employees of TSRTC should be well taken care of.
The joint action committee (JAC) of the TSRTC called for series of agitations culminating with Telangana bandh on October 19. JAC members said that they would observe ‘Vanta Varupu’ on Monday, where protesters would set up kitchens and cook on the streets followed by protests in front of all RTC bus depots.