Sena auto union accuses striking union of vandalism
Alleged manhandling and hooliganism by autorickshaw drivers, who went on a day-long strike, forced drivers from the non-striking unions to stay off the roads in Navi Mumbai, claims the Shiv Sena-led Rickshaw Chalak Malak Sena. This in turn, inconvenienced commuters greatly.
‘They are vandals’
Manohar Gayake, chairperson of the Shiv Sena-led union, said, “Since we were against holding commuters to ransom, especially when the exam season is on, we stayed away from the strike. We had asked our members to ply their autos on Monday. However, we started receiving complaints that auto drivers from other unions, who are on strike, were manhandling our members and vandalised a few of their vehicles. Hence, we asked our men to stay off the roads.”
‘Didn’t use force’
Claiming that their strike was a success, Sunil Borde, president of Chalak Malak Rickshaw Ekta Union, said, “Barring a few exceptions, most of the drivers had participated in the strike. We did not force anyone to participate. Besides, we did not manhandle any of the drivers from the non-striking unions.”
“Though we are supporting the strike, we have kept our vehicles ready to help in case of an emergency. In addition, we are also plying senior citizens,” said auto driver at Turbhe railway station.
Ram Singh, a local shopkeeper, who had been waiting for a bus for over half an hour, said, “How can these auto rickshaw drivers hold us to ransom time and again. Just a few days ago, they had gone on a weeklong strike, and they are doing it again.”