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Tension in Telangana's Khammam as striking TSRTC driver succumbs to burns

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Hyderabad, Oct 13: A driver of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation,who set himself ablaze at his house near Khammam, reportedly in protest against the government not acceding to the demands of the striking employees, succumbed to his burns at a hospital here on Sunday.

Police said they were probing why the driver took the extreme step. Srinivas Reddy, working in the Khammam depot, who was part of the group of employees on a state-wide strike for the last died of burn injuries, hospital sources said. He had doused himself with petrol and set himself afire near his house on Saturday.

Tension in Telanganas Khammam as striking TSRTC driver succumbs to burns

Khammam Commissioner of Police Tafseer Iqbal told PTI that the situation in Khammam, where tension prevailed after the incident, was normal and peaceful. Following the incident,tension had prevailed in the town with striking employees staging a demonstration at the hospital and shouting slogans against the TRS Government and reportedly damading the windowpanes of a hired bus.

TSRTC strike: KCR sacks 48,000 employees; trade bodies to move court

Meanwhile Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has said there was no question of having talks with the striking employees or taking them back. Rao also directed officials to restore bus services and if need be, recruit employees, utilise the services of retired RTC and Police department drivers.

The government, he said, would not recognise the"illegal and unlawful" strike under any circumstances and there was no question of having any talks with those on strike.

"The striking employees will not be taken back, come what may", an official release quoted him as having said. Rao, who chaired a review meeting on the situation on Saturday, directed the officials to pay September salaries to those who were not participating in the strike. He said the striking workers had blindly believed union leaders' statements and had only themselves to blame for losing their jobs. Supervisors were also dragged into the strike, which never happened in the past, he said.

Rao said the union leaders were responsible for 48,000 employees losing their jobs. There was no scope of taking back those who abstained from duties, he said. Rao also directed DGP M Mahendar Reddy to take steps to increase security cover at all RTC depots, book cases, arrest those indulging in unlawful activity and violence and those trying to stop the buses. Rao instructed officials to restore bus services and if need be, recruit employees, utilise the services of retired RTC and Police department drivers.

Meanwhile the indefinite strike by the employees entered the ninth day on Sunday. Nearly 48,000 employees of employees and workers unions of TSRTC boycotted work and began an indefinite strike from October 5 in Telangana on a call by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of TSRTC, demanding merger of RTC with the government, recruitment to various posts, among others.

The Chief Minister had earlier stated that the striking staff who did not report by the October 5 deadline had 'self dismissed' themselves and made it very clear that under no circumstances the RTC will be merged into the government. The JAC had called for a state bandh on October 19, even asthe Government on Saturday extended the Dasara vacation till October 19, not to inconvenience students.

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