Demonstrations and Tamil Nadu D.M.K. Government
Bus commuters struggled to reach their destination on Tuesday [24-8-2010] in Chennai with over 1,000 of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation’s (MTC) more than 3,000 buses staying off the roads. Reason? About 6,000 drivers and conductors of the corporation affiliated to the ruling DMK’s Labour Progressive Front (LPF) had gone off to participate in a rally demanding wage revision.
Office-goers and school students, and public caught unawares by the mass absenteeism, had to wait for a long time for buses.
The MTC has about 18,000 drivers and conductors, of whom at least 6,000 took part in the rally from Parry’s Corner to Pallavan Salai.
In some depots, temporary workers alleged that they were threatened by LPF members against reporting for duty even after they had signed in the attendance register.
Officials in the MTC admitted that the agitation by the LPF had caused trouble to the commuters. But, they did not comment on whether action would be taken against those who did not report for duty in order to participate in the rally.
“How can the DMK Government allow members of the union owing allegiance to it to make people suffer? Had this been done by members of other unions, action would have been initiated by now,’’ said a middle-level official in the MTC. [Times of India 25-8-2010].
In the case of I.A.S. Officer Umashankar who was placed under suspension last month; the state unit of the BSP approached the city police on July 24 for permission to hold a demonstration at Memorial Hall, which is the scheduled place for such demonstrations. The petitioner was called to appear for an inquiry on July 26, which he complied with. The city police refused permission on July 28.
Justice V Dhanapalan, relying on a host of judicial pronouncements on the freedom of expression and the right to hold demonstrations, said the authorities cannot impose blanket ban on demonstrations. At best, they can regulate the agitations, by deploying police personnel at the venue, the judge said.
People must think over the differential treatment of the Tamil Nadu D.M.K. Government in allowing the Demonstration by LPF and denying permission to protest against the suspension of Dalit Officer C.Umasankar.
Link to my speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y43XIHlbxiA