October 27, 2019

Telangana: Today Bandh in Support of RTC Strike

Kambhampati Sarma

A COMPLETE bandh was observed in Telangana at the call given by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC). This call was supported by all the opposition parties.

A few buses of Telangana RTC plied which were run with the help of police escort. However this effort of the government did not succeed. To save the RTC, all sections of people have come forward and resisted the police repression. Even though the Telangana High Court had directed the government to hold talks with RTC workers, the CM chose to ignore the directions.

The High Court was extremely explicit in mentioning the need for holding a dialogue between the state government and the RTC workers. The court stated, “This court is well aware of the limitations on its judicial power. Although this court may not be in a position to direct the state and the corporation to accept the demands raised by the respondent Nos 6 and 7, however, as the concern of this court is with regard to the plight of the common man, this court does not have ample power to remind both the parties of their constitutional duties, obligations and responsibilities. The court would be free to endeavour that the parties should negotiate and resolve their disputes both amicably and expeditiously. After all, while the parties are at loggerheads, it is men, women and children of the state who continue to suffer.” The High Court further observed, “Therefore, this court directs the respondent Nos 1, 2 and 3 to call the respondent Nos 6 and 7 to the negotiating table to seriously consider whether the demands mentioned herein above could be accepted or not in favour of the workmen, and to do so as expeditiously as possible in order to build confidence between the respondent No 3 and the respondent Nos 6 and 7. Since under section 34 of the Act of 1950, the state has ample power to issue directions to the corporation, the state is directed to supervise the negotiation between the parties.

However the government did not pay any heed to this order and did not call the workers to a dialogue.

Meanwhile, the people cooperated with the bandh call and acted voluntarily in some places. Cabs did not operate; shops were closed voluntarily, and business people expressed solidarity with the bandh. The passengers did not come to bus stands; the bus stands were empty without buses. Various sections of the people including employees, students, teachers, youth,  women, peasant, agricultural labourers, poets, artists, caste based organisations, and journalist organisations all directly participated in the agitation.

     They sat on the roads wherever possible, and raised slogans against the government. The police arrested them and foisted cases on many people.  Left Parties’ workers organised a rally from MB Bhavan but they were stopped at RTC cross roads.  Police were mobilised in large numbers and there was tension all around.  The leaders of Left parties, Tammineni Veerabhadram, G Ramulu, D G Narasimha Rao, B Venkat, S Balamallesh, K Rama, Jhansi, S Venkateswara Rao, K Govardhan, Vimalakka, POW leader Sandhya, were present.  Along with the leaders, hundreds of workers of student, youth, and mass organisations were arrested and taken to Narayanaguda and Musheerabad police stations. The CPI(ML) leader, Potu Rangarao was injured in the altercation and his finger got cut. He is in the hospital.


     There was protest at the MGBS. When the Left leaders reached the bus stand, the police prevented them and the leaders sat there and raised slogans against the government and supported the strike. The Central Committee member of CPI(M), G Nagaiah, Nandyala  Narasimha Reddy, state secretariat member, John Wessly and Chada Venkata Reddy, state secretary of CPI were arrested.  

     Tammineni Veerabhadram, state secretary of CPI(M), condemned the attitude of the K Chandrasekhra Rao, chief minister of the state, as irresponsible and anti-constitutional as in spite of the High Court direction he has not called the RTC workers to talks and has thus caused suffering to workers as well as to Telangana people. He said that if he does not invite the RTC leaders for talks before October 28, the Left parties will intensify the agitation and bring pressure on the government. It should be considered as contempt of court, he said.

     The strike has entered the 18th day, but the CM with his feudal attitude has not called the RTC-JAC for talks in spite of the High Court direction.  The strike is continuing and on the future programme of the strike the JAC and the Left parties and other opposition parties met at Sundarayya Vignana Kendram and gave a call for the coming 10 days:

October 21:      Dharna by RTC worker’s families before all depots.

October 22:     Request Programme that buses should not be run by un-trained drivers.

October 23:     Meeting with all party people’s representatives.

October 24:     Mass dharna before RTC depots by lady conductors and a dharna before Indira Park in Hyderabad.

October 25:     Militant rasta roko at all main roads and centres.

October 26:     Mass dharnas with children of RTC workers.

October 27:     RTC workers would not celebrate the Deepavali festival because salary was not paid to them. On this day, political parties and other organisations would invite at least one RTC worker for dinner.

October 30:     Huge public meeting under the auspices of RTC-JAC would be organised.

There will be tours in the districts by Left leaders separately to solicit support for the strike from the general public. They will also visit all the RTC depots during the period.