A bus conductor in Hyderabad committed suicide at his home on Sunday, a day a day after a bus driver set himself on fire on Saturday. This is the second suicide amid a strike by the employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) which has been on since October 5.
As the preparations for the last rites of Srinivas Reddy, 55, a bus driver who immolated himself on Saturday were being made amid tight security, a bus conductor, Surender Goud, 46, hanged himself in Hyderabad, allegedly because he had not received his salary for September and was unable to pay his loan. That is said to have caused him tremendous stress.
Srinivas Reddy, the bus driver, set himself on fire at his home in Khammam district on Saturday. He suffered 90 per cent burn injuries and was shifted to a Hyderabad hospital where he died on Sunday morning.
The frustration and grief among the striking transport employees is turning into anger as they say four employees had tried to kill themselves, after Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao declared that 48,000 of them had "self-dismissed" themselves from duty by refusing to rejoin duty ten days ago.
Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy is expected to send a report on the strike to Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The opposition BJP called the bus driver's death "heartbreaking". Telangana BJP chief K Laxman has called the it a "state murder". He alleged that Mr Rao or KCR's provocative statements were responsible for forcing the driver to take the extreme step.
Telangana Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy said KCR's statements that smacked of "arrogance'' drive the employees to commit suicide.
Panchayat Raj minister Errabelli Dayakar blamed the Congress and the BJP for the suicides, saying they had provoked and incited the transport employees for their own political gain. He said the Chief Minister had not said he would privatize the state transport corporation and accused the opposition of carrying out a propaganda.
Schools and colleges have been given an extended holiday till October 21 because of the strike. Many institutions say their academic calendar will go for a toss if they do that.
The transport body unions have announced intensification of their protests.
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