MSRTC workers protest against 'murders of state policies' outside Sharad Pawar's residence

Published on : 10:27 PM Apr 08, 2022

The protesters pelted stones, threw slippers outside Pawar's residence and raised slogans claiming that the leader did not take steps to resolve their issues on Friday.

Mumbai: Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) workers protested at former Chief Minister of the state Sharad Pawar's house Silver Oak in Mumbai on Friday. The protesters pelted stones, threw slippers outside Pawar's residence and raised slogans claiming that the leader did not take steps to resolve their issues.

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Pawar remained inside the house while his daughter and Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule tried to reason with the protesters who numbered over a hundred but in vain. "I am ready to hold talks with you. Kindly cooperate, my father, mother and daughter are inside the house. Let me ensure their safety first," she said.

"Some 120 MSRTC employees have died by suicide during the strike. These are not suicides, but murders of the state policy. We are firm on our demand for a merger of the MSRTC with the state government. NCP chief Sharad Pawar has not done anything to resolve the issue," an agitating employee of the MSRTC said. Advertisement

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Meanwhile, the Mumbai police have registered an FIR against 107 persons for rioting and conspiracy, at Gamdevi police station of South Mumbai, among 23 of the accused are women, the official said. The police have also detained Advocate Gunaratna Sadavarte, leader of the striking workers, for questioning with regard to the incident, an official said.

Pawar wrote on Twitter that they have always supported the MSRTC staff, but not the wrong leadership. It is the responsibility of everyone to oppose the wrongdoing of the employees. It is the leadership that creates the conditions to take such an extreme role. "Whenever there was a problem, we have worked hard to solve it. This time they were chosen the wrong path and its consequences were felt today," added Pawar.

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Reacting to the incident, Chief Minister Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray said, "I have asked the home minister to take strict action against the instigators and perpetrators of the attack. No one should take the law into their hands after this incident."

Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil said a probe will be conducted to find out if any "unknown force" was behind the "attack". He also said that this "undesirable turn" which the agitation of the striking MSRTC employees had taken was not good, and the employees should not have taken the law into their hands. "We will definitely find out where the intelligence failure occurred. The Police Commissioner and Joint Police Commissioner (Law and Order) have been instructed and strict action will be taken against whoever is guilty," he said. Walse-Patil, notably, belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party which is part of the ruling Shiv Sena-led coalition.

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An NCP office-bearer said that state Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray reached Pawar's residence, within 10 minutes of learning about the incident. Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis condemned the incident, "the incident outside Pawar's residence is wrong by all means irrespective of the party a leader belongs to, such agitations cannot be supported in any way. I strongly condemn the incident." The state Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat demanded strict action against persons who instigated the MSRTC employees to stage the angry protest.

In an apparent swipe at the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said it was orchestrated by those for whom the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress `Maha Vikas Aghadi' coalition government in Maharashtra is an "eyesore". The attack on Pawar's residence was unfortunate and it must be ascertained who was behind it, Raut told reporters.

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MSRTC workers have been on strike for the last few months and marched towards the house of National Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar. Pawar is considered the chief architect of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, which was formed in November 2019.

Earlier, on Wednesday, the Bombay High Court directed the striking employees to resume duty by April 22 and asked the corporation to take back its decision to initiate disciplinary action against the errant workers. Following the court order, state Transport Minister Anil Parab had assured that no action would be taken against those workers who rejoin duty by the deadline set by the HC.

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(With agency inputs)

Also Read: Bombay HC orders MSRTC striking employees to join work by April 22

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