Hyderabad: A showdown between the government and the employees appears imminent if the words of Telangana Employees Joint Action Committee leaders are taken into account during a relay hunger fast at the Indira Park on Thursday.
Various employees’ union leaders, speaking one after the other at the dharna site, warned the state government against invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to stop them from participating in the proposed strike from August 17.
Addressing the demonstrators, TNGOs president Swamy Goud president lashed out at the government for its ‘double standards,’ of threatening the employees with invocation of ESMA and on the other hand inviting them for talks.
“We will not bow down before the government’s arm-twisting methods,” Mr Swamy Goud said. He added, “on the one hand, the government has invited us for talks tomorrow. On the other hand, the government has threatened us with ESMA. The people of Telangana are observing these double standards,” the TNGOs president said.
Mr Goud was referring to an invitation by the Group of Ministers to the Telangana Employees Joint Action Committee (JAC) to come for talks on Friday to resolve their pending grievances and avert a strike.
Speaking on the occasion, other leaders of various Telangana employees unions too criticized the state government for issuing threats of invoking the ESMA to stop the employees from participating in strike.
The Telangana Employees Joint Action Committee has already served notice of an indefinite general strike from August 17, besides a charter of demands, to the government. The strike notice is in support of separate Telangana state demand.
The charter of demands includes the appointment of a Judicial Commission to look into irregularities in appointments and deputations in violation of zonal regulations.
Earlier, Telangana Political Joint Action Committee convenor M Kodandaram called upon employees to play key role in the Telangana agitation.
Addressing the protesting Telangana employees, Prof Kodandaram said that, “they are not agitating for the increase in salaries or promotions but are demanding the formation of separate state.”
He appealed to Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy to take initiative with the Centre and use his office for solving the problem.
Prof Kodandaram also made it clear that the employees would not bow down to threats of invoking the ESMA by the state government.
“If the government tries to impose ESMA on employees, it will have to face serious consequences,” the TPJAC chief warned.
Speaking on the occasion, Telangana Rashtra Samithi MLA K T Rama Rao appealed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi to break her silence over the Telangana statehood demand.
“How can Sonia Gandhi not break her silence despite 600 people committed suicides for the cause of separate statehood,” KTR wondered.
He also criticized the Telangana Congress leaders for their alleged double speak on Telangana and demanded them to resign afresh from their elected posts immediately to prove their commitment.
KTR also urged the Telangana Telugu Desam Party Forum Members to demand their party chief N Chandrababu make his stand clear on the issue.
Expressing solidarity with the employees for their dharna, KTR said that he was ready to go to jail if the government arrests them.
MLC Chukka Ramaiah appealed to people to observe restraint and not resort to suicides for the cause of statehood. He appealed to TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao to take into confidence leaders of all political parties and make united efforts for Telangana statehood.
Mr Ramaiah also alleged that the Centre was delaying a decision on deletion of Clause 14 F from the Presidential orders as it conspired to separate Hyderabad from Telangana.
Members and office bearers of Telangana Non-Gazzetted Officers Association, Telangana Gazette Officers Association and other employees’ unions attended the dharna programme.(INN)