Vijayawada: The 14-day long strike by municipal workers turned violent on Friday, when they forcibly tried to enter the sub-collector's office to stage a protest, resulting in many arrests and injuries in the scuffle between the police and workers.
The municipal workers from various districts and municipalities participated in the protest with opposition party leaders supporting them. A heated argument took place between the workers and police officials when they tried to block the sub-collector's office in Vijayawada on Friday.
To demonstrate their unhappiness and to draw the attention of the state government, workers from various districts and municipalities participated in the protest demanding a hike in salary.
Accusing the government of its failure to fulfill the election promise made to municipal workers, union leaders along with the Opposition and Left parties raised slogans against the state government and Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, on not responding to the issue when the workers are on indefinite strike.
A worker P. Lakshmi, 46, who has been performing duties for the past 17 years in public health wing - VMC, said that permanent workers are getting four times what they are getting and questioned the government on what is wrong with hiking the salary of workers who are serving the corporation for years. Many workers were arrested and some were taken to hospital when they staged a protest inside the office. They warned that protests will be intensified, if the CM did not solve the problem.
“Our workers are in jails and we are ready to intensify protests like never before if the government still turns a deaf ear to our problems,” said workers union president Asula Ranganayakulu.
More than 20 workers and women constables lost consciousness in the commotion and were rushed to hospital for first aid. According to police, more than a hundred workers along with Opposition party leaders were taken into custody and released later.
Cops have a tough time with workers
High tension and drama prevailed at the sub-collector’s office here on Friday when the striking municipal workers tried to create a blockade. Cops had a tough time handling the situation. While trying to remove the blockade, they had to clash with the workers.
“Political party leaders and workers were trying to provoke the police. But we took all the measures to bring the situation under control,” said Mr Kalidas, DCP- Law & order.
“We had a tough time confronting the workers. Our men were also injured in the clashes along with the municipal workers,” said another police official.
When the municipal workers and opposition party leaders tried to provoke the police, with no option left, they had to arrest leaders and workers, said police officials. The arrested were later sent to various police stations in the city. Left party leaders P. Madhu, Ch. Babu Rao, Donepudi Shankar, Ramakrishna and YSR Congress leader P. Gowtham Reddy were among those arrested.