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Srinagar, Mar 5 (UNI) A day after Jammu and Kashmir government declared "unlawful" the indefinite strike by State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) employees, hundreds of workers and their family members, today took to streets here in support of their demands.

About 50 employees and their family members, were taken into preventive custody by police after a mild lathicharge near historic Lal Chowk.

Employees, joined by their family members, including children wearing uniform and holding school bags, started their march from Partap Park. However, when they reached near Lal Chowk, police stopped and asked them to disperse.

But when the employees refused to disperse and insisted that they should be allowed to move towards Amira Kadal, police resorted to mild lathicharge.

About 50 employees were later bundled into waiting vehicles and taken to police station Maisuma. However, a number of women were also seen boarding the police vehicles.

The employees were raising slogans against Transport Minister Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen and coalition government.

Children of employees set their uniform and books in fire.

We are not being allowed to sit in the classes as we have no fees to deposit in the school,'' a class third girl student said to a police officer, adding the government was responsible for destroying our future.

The government had recently asked the striking employees to resume duty as their salaries would be released within a week as release of salary was one of theise demands.

However, when the employees continued the strike, the government yesterday declared the strike as unlawful' and warned them to resume duty or face action under Essential Services Maintenance Ordinance.

The employees said their General Provident Fund (GPF) had not been deposited with property authority by the SRTC management.

''We are not being paid the GPF, our own money, when applied for,'' the employees alleged.

The SRTC employees and their family members were protesting for the past two weeks against government's failure to release their salaries and fulfill other demands.

They have presented a 13-point demands to government, which included release of wages, payment of cost of living from 2006, the appointment of children of deceased employees under SRO-43 and appointment of a commission to probe into alleged scandals in the corporation.

UNI BAS JT RAI1342

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