Hundreds of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) workers staged a massive protest outside the residence of NCP chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Friday, accusing him of not listening to their plight. Police have filed cases against 105 people under various sections of the IPC and arrested them. A number of MSRTC workers have been on strike since November last year to demand equal treatment for state government employees and to consolidate the cash-strapped transport corporation with the government.
A meeting between MSRTC workers and NCP leaders was held after the protest outside Power’s Silver Oak residence, CNN-News18 reported.
Power’s daughter and Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule tried to calm the protesters outside the house, saying she was ready to talk to them but first she had to make sure her parents who were inside were safe. Later, police detained many protesters, when the extra forces were deployed outside the house.
Some protesters were also seen throwing shoes at the house. “About 120 MSRTC employees have committed suicide since the strike began. These are not suicides, they are murders. Sharad Pawar did nothing to solve the problem, “said one protester.
“We respect yesterday’s decision of the Bombay High Court, but we were discussing the issues with the state government elected by the people. This government has done nothing for us. Chanakya Sharad Pawar of this government is also responsible for our loss, ”said another protesting activist.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has condemned the attack on Power’s residence and directed police officials to take stern action against those responsible.
The attack on the house of veteran leader, MP Sharad Pawar is highly reprehensible and Chief Minister Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray has directed the police officials to take stern action against those responsible for the attack. – CMO Maharashtra (MCMOMaharashtra) April 8, 2022
State Home Minister and NCP leader Dilip Walse-Patil said workers should not take the law into their own hands. “It’s not good that the protests have taken an unexpected turn. The protest outside the residence of NCP chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai was “unnecessary”, he tweeted in Marathi.
“I have directed Mumbai CP Sanjay Pandey and Joint Commissioner, Law and Order, Biswas Nagar Patil to take stern action against the culprits. Some mislead MSRTC workers, others support protests, “he told ANI.
# Update | Maharashtra: Police have filed cases against 105 people under various sections of the IPC in connection with a protest outside the residence of NCP leader Sharad Pawar. Police have arrested 105 accused.
– ANI (ANI) April 8, 2022
BJP leader Praveen Darekar said the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in the state was “surprising”. Power has repeatedly warned of retaliatory measures against workers. Employees have not forgotten this arrogance, “he said.
The protests came a day after the Bombay High Court directed the striking MSRTC workers to resume their duties by April 22 and a day after the corporation was ordered not to take any action against the workers.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutt and Justice MS Karnik said on Wednesday that it would give the staff time till April 15 to resume their duties. But on Thursday it was extended for another week. “We are extending the date till April 22. Workers should not repeat the crime in the future. The court is trying to reach a situation where there is no more death because someone has lost their livelihood due to suicide or natural causes. We don’t want that. We want all employees to return to work, the court said. Within the extended date, workers who re-assign will be protected, but those who do not do so at their own risk and peril, “the court said.
Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab also assured that no action would be taken against the striking workers. The minister further said that the corporation had assured the court that it would take back all the measures taken against the workers during the strike. Therefore, no action will be taken against those who rejoin by April 22, but the process will continue for those against whom police action was taken, he reiterated.
The corporation was coming up with pensions and gratuities for MSRTC employees. If it is irregular, it will be paid on time, he said.
(With input from PTI)
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