Punjab : Private bus operators call off strike after talks with police

  • PTI/ HT Correspondent, None, Chandigarh
  • Updated: May 16, 2015 16:56 IST

The Private bus operators in Punjab called off the strike they went on Saturday after talks with DIG (Bathinda range) who assured them to investigate into Muktsar molestation incident.

The strike was called early morning on Saturday to protest against the "haste" shown by police in registering cases against drivers and conductors without proper investigation.

A case was registered against a private bus conductor on Friday by police on a complaint filed by two minor sisters who alleged that they were harassed by the conductor in Muktsar district.

"As many as 4,500 buses are off the roads today in the state. We are protesting against false cases being registered by police against our drivers and conductors even without proper investigation. As a result of which, there is a strong resentment among our staff and private bus owners. That is why we went on strike," Punjab Motor Union, (an organisation of private buses), general secretary Rajinder Singh Bajwa said on Saturday.

Bus drivers and conductors of private buses held protests at various places including Muktsar, Bathinda, Faridkot, Amritsar, Patiala, Rajpura, Khanna, Jalandhar in the state and blocked roads leading to bus stands, causing traffic jam.

"We want assurance from the state government that proper investigation be done into complaints relating to harassment or molestation before registering a case against a bus conductor or driver," said Hardeep Singh Dhillon, owner of New Deep bus service.

"If the complaint is found genuine then arrest should also be made. But nobody should be arrested or booked on the basis of false complaints," he demanded.

Bus owners were also protesting against the damage to their vehicles by protesters on the roads, alleging that police had failed to prevent such incidents.

"We want protection for our buses in the state as it is not safe now to ply buses," Bajwa claimed.

With about 4,500 private buses remaining off the roads across the state, commuters had harrowing time because of the strike.

However, state-owned Punjab Roadways and PRTC were plying their buses.

A teenage girl died after she was molested and thrown off along with her mother from a moving bus last month, sparking widespread protest in the state by political parties and social organistaions against private bus services in the state.

Yesterday, another case of alleged harassment of two minor sisters by the conductor of a private bus owned by an Akali leader in Muktsar district came to light, following which a complaint against the accused was lodged.

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