Thousands of government workers protest official's murder in India

MUMBAI: Over 80,000 government workers on Thursday protested against the killing of an official by members of the oil mafia in India's western state of Maharashtra, the Times of India reported.

Tax official Yashwant Sonawane was burnt alive on Tuesday by suspected members of a local oil mafia in Manmad in Nashik district, about 260 kilometers (161 miles) from Mumbai.

"We have not announced the protest as a strike but we are shunning work to register our protest against this gruesome act which has shaken the government employees," president of the Maharashtra Gazetted Officers Mahasangh Ravindra Dhongade said, as cited by the Times of India.

Dhongade added that the officers are shaken by the murder and lower-level officers would also join the protest.

Meanwhile, authorities launched a massive crackdown on oil adulteration mafia across Maharashtra, raiding some 200 places and arresting around 180 people.

Eleven persons were arrested in connection with the murder while the main accused Popat Shinde, suspected to have had set the collector on fire, has been admitted to a hospital in Mumbai with severe burn injuries.

Federal Oil Minister Jaipal Reddy unveiled steps, including the re-introduction of a chemical marker in kerosene in six months, to reduce scope for diversion of subsidized kerosene.

After announcing a compensation of 2.5 million rupees (54,844 dollars) to the family of Sonawane, Reddy said it was the duty of the state government to supervise that subsidized fuel is not diverted for adulteration.


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