Telangana RTC union leader continues fast in hospital

Hyderabad: The indefinite strike by employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) entered its 45th day on Monday even as their leader Ashwathama Reddy continued his hunger strike at a hospital here.

The TSRTC Joint Action Committee (JAC) leader continued his fast at the government-run Osmania Hospital, where he was shifted by the police after arresting him on Sunday.

The leader was picked up by police from his residence, where he had launched the fast after being denied permission to undertake the fast at Indira Park. He made it clear that he will not end the hunger strike until the government comes forward to hold talks with the striking employees to address their demands.

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As Reddy’s condition had started deteriorating on Sunday, police forcibly shifted him to hospital. Doctors had advised him to cooperate in view of his falling sugar and blood pressure levels. According to sources, he was forcibly administered saline late Monday.

However, Reddy is refusing to take food and told those who met him that he continued to be on a hunger strike.

Those who called on him at the hospital on Monday included Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) president M. Kodandaram.

Police on Sunday had also shifted another JAC leader Raji Reddy. Policemen broke open his house as he had locked it from inside since launching the fast on Saturday.

Though the JAC announced temporarily dropping the main demand of TSRTC’s merger with the government, the latter has given no indication of any imminent talks to break the impasse.

Sunil Sharma, MD in-charge, TSRTC said in his affidavit that the employees may again raise the merger demand in the future.

The High Court will resume hearing on the petitions relating to the case on Monday. At the previous hearing, the division bench headed by Chief Justice R.S. Chauhan refused to declare the strike illegal and at the same time also declined to issue orders to the government to hold talks with the employees.

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