Hyderabad: Fresh from his talks with senior figures in the central government, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy on Monday adopted a policy of 'zero tolerance' towards Telangana agitators trying to disrupt public services. At the same time, he plugged his familiar line that the agitators were causing difficulties to their own people, including loss of jobs to Telangana youth and disrupting of the academic schedule of its students.
Putting into practice the ‘get tough’ diktat from the Centre, the government moved to break the strike in the APSRTC and persuaded one section of the striking union to call off the strike.
The strike breakers were induced with juicy welcome-back sops including pay for the strike period and a festival advance. This only triggered rifts within the RTC union and stung the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) into swearing defiance against the government’s strong-arm tactics.
The Chief Minister made pointed mention of the jobs Telangana youth stand to lose if the strike continued.
At a press conference on Monday, the Chief Minister made pointed mention of the jobs Telangana youth stand to lose if the strike continued. He said the government has decided to notify recruitment to 1.16 lakh jobs in various departments by the end of this year.
"The finance department has already gave clearance for 30,000 jobs. Around 4.5 lakh students are eagerly waiting to take the Group-2 exam. All this will be affected by the stir," he said.
He also leveraged the disquiet among parents over dislocated academic schedules in schools and colleges. Along with the soft spiel came tough talk.
"Stern action will be taken against breakers of law and order, however big they may be. Those who burn buses will be put behind bars," he said.
In concert with the tough talk by the government, APSRTC sent more buses into the streets of Hyderabad under police escort.
Senior police officials convened press conferences to threaten tough laws against agitators intending to derail train services from Wednesday.
Groups of parents gathered at the gates of colleges and schools and berated Telangana agitators for disrupting their children’s studies. TJAC denounced these protests as orchestrated maneouvres and vowed to intensify the Sakala Janula Samme from Tuesday. TJAC leaders suspect that the Congress high command directed Kiran Kumar Reddy to break the strike ahead of K Chandrasekhar Rao’s visit to Delhi on Tuesday.
As a signal of defiance, TJAC, which had earlier decided to exempt educational institutions from the strike, decided to go ahead with its fiat of forcing closure of schools until October 15.