Hyderabad: The ‘Chalo Tank Band’ protest by TSRTC employees’ unions and opposition parties took a violent turn on Saturday.
Among the injured were seven staff, including an additional deputy commissioner of police and two assistant commissioners, police said.
Hyderabad police commissioner Anjani Kumar said the protesters tried to move towards the tank carriage even though they refused permission for the rally and threw stones at the police when they prevented them from going further.
The police charged them with lath and teargas shells, which they later dispersed. Cases have been registered against the stone-throwers and their leaders, Kumar said.
Union leaders have claimed that many employees were injured in the strike.
Telangana State Road Transport Corporation employees’ unions, backed by some of the Maoists and their allies and opposition political parties, were denied permission by the police on Friday to hold a ‘Chalco Tank Bund’ protest.
Earlier in the day, more than 5,000 people were taken into preventive custody across the state before the strike, including by workers’ unions and leaders of opposition parties, including the Left and the BJP, before the strike.
Elsewhere in the state, protesters from various organizations supporting the TSRTC employees’ unions tried to break barricades, broke down on the roads and chanted slogans against the Telangana government and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
Nearly 5,000 employees have launched an indefinite strike across Telangana since October 5 on the call of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) demanding the merger of the RTC with the government, wage revision and appointments to various posts.
The Chief Minister had earlier said that under any circumstance, the RTC will not be incorporated into the government and that the public disturbance of the employees is illegal.
The arrests and police action have received strong reactions from the Congress, the BJP and other parties, which accused the TRS government of ‘repressive’ action on opposition leaders and workers during the march.
Congress leader M. Bhatti Vikramarka has accused the government of stifling freedom of expression.
“Vikramarka, who held a meeting with senior party leaders on police action during the Chalco Tank Bund protest, said that Congress leaders are under house arrest whenever any agitation is carried out.
He alleged in a statement that the government was acting in a way that would demoralize the Congress workers. Vikramarka said party leaders would meet again on Sunday to decide on the future course of action.
Karimnagar BJP MP Bandy Sanjay Kumar alleged that the TRS government resorted to repressive measures against RTC employees who were concerned for their rights.