Strik­ing T’gana RTC driver sets him­self on fire, protests surge

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - [email protected] times­

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.

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