Day after immolation bid, Telangana driver succumbs to injuries as RTC strike enters ninth day
A Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) driver who set himself ablaze Saturday evening, succumbed to burns at a private hospital on Sunday afternoon, triggering protests in Khammam district.
D Srinivasa Reddy, a native of Ramachandrapuram of Nelakondapalli block in Khammam district and working as a driver in Khammam RTC bus depot, doused himself with diesel and set himself ablaze at his residence, while raising slogans demanding that the state government concede the demands of the RTC employees.
Reddy who suffered 90 per cent burns was rushed to a hospital in Hyderabad in the night before being shifted to the DRDO-Apollo Hospital. “His condition turned critical in the night and he succumbed at around noon,” E Ashwathama Reddy, chairman of Joint Action Committee of Telangana RTC Employees and Workers’ Unions, said.
He said Reddy was upset with the announcement made by chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) that there was no question of restoring the jobs of the striking RTC employees and they would not be paid salaries. On October 6, KCR had ordered the dismissal of 48,000-odd employees and workers of TSRTC from service, after they launched an indefinite strike demanding solution to their long-pending problems.
“As a mark of respect to Reddy who sacrificed his life for the cause of RTC employees, we have called for a bandh in Khammam district on Monday,” the JAC leader said.
Tension prevailed outside the hospital, where a large number of RTC employees and leaders of political parties gathered and raised slogans against the alleged inhuman attitude of chief minister Rao towards striking workers of RTC.
Police deployed huge forces to maintain law and order. RTC employees staged protests across the bus depots in the state. Reddy’s fellow employees in Khammam district staged a silent protest.
Public transport remains badly hit in Telangana. The government is running skeletal RTC services with temporary drivers and conductors, besides hired buses and private services
Pradesh Congress Committee working president A Revanth Reddy rushed to the hospital and is coordinating with the doctors for arrangements for post mortem and further course. BJP Telangana state president Dr K Lakshman, CPI national secretary K Narayana and others mourned the death of Reddy.
Congress MP Komatireddy Venkat Reddy appealed to the RTC workers not to lose heart and take to extreme steps. “Suicides are not a solution to the problems of RTC workers. They should continue their strike with determination and let us see why the government does not concede your demands,” he said.
The Telangana Panchayat Raj Teachers’ Union extended its support to the RTC employees’ agitation. “We shall join the RTC employees in their Telangana bandh call on October 19,” PRTU leader P Harsha Vardhan Reddy said.