Hyderabad: Several leaders of the striking TSRTC employees' unions and opposition parties were among the over 5,000 people taken into preventive custody across Telangana on Saturday ahead of their proposed protest march, highlighting their demands.
Police on Friday had already denied permission to the TSRTC employees' unions to organise the 'Chalo Tank Bund' protest over various demands including merger of the RTC with the government, keeping public convenience in view. They sought to organise 'Chalo Tank Bund' protest as their indefinite strike entered the 36th day on Saturday. There was heavy deployment of police personnel and barricades were put up at Tank Bund.
Police in order to ease the traffic and for the convenience of public put in place alternate routes and advised them to use the suggested routes as the agitators are likely to gather and cause traffic obstructions on Tank Bund and surrounding areas.
Many leaders of TSRTC Joint Action Committee were taken into preventive custody, while Congress Legislature Party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka and several senior Congress leaders were put under "house arrest" or detained in the city and other parts of the state to prevent them from joining the 'Chalo Tank Bund' protest. "As a preventive measure, over 5,000 people including leaders and workers ofstrikingTSRTC employees unions and political parties have been taken into preventive custody across Telangana because the 'Chalo Tank Bund' protest is not permitted," Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Jitender told PTI.
Nearly 48,000 employees had boycotted work and begun an indefinite strike from October 5 across Telangana on a call by the Joint Action Committee (JAC), demanding merger of RTC with the government, pay revision, recruitment to various posts, among others resulting in state-run buses staying off the roads causing inconvenience to commuters.
Chief Minister K ChandrasekharRaohadearlier said under no circumstances would the RTC be merged with the government and said the employees' stir is illegalas they caused immense inconvenience to the public.
The Tank Bund, on the banks of Hussain Sagar lake, connects Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The state government had earlier declared the strike illegal and said the corporation is not in a position to accept the demands. The Congress, BJP and other opposition parties have already announced their support to 'Chalo Tank Bund'.
The workers of RTC are keen on taking part in the protest and they would go ahead with the protest in spite of the hurdles, the employees unions' leader E Aswathama Reddy had said. Meanwhile, mild tension prevailed on the roads leading to Tank Bund after a group of protesters pelted stones at police personnel when they were stopped from marching towards the bund.
Police resorted to a mild lathicharge to disperse the protesters. Some other protesters from different organisations who have been extending their support to the TSRTC employees' unions, squatted on roads and raised slogans against the Telangana government and the Chief Minister. Police foiled attempts by a large number of members of Left Parties and their affiliate organisations to break the barricades installed on different roads leading towards Tank Bund. Police also whisked away leaders of Left Parties and BJP when they tried to reach Tank Bund.