Mumbai: ST workers strike against colleague's death in fight

Protest called after bus driver died yesterday of injuries in a scuffle with an auto driver

Representational pic
Representational pic

To protest the death of an ST bus driver who was killed in a scuffle with an autorickshaw driver on Thursday night, the ST workers at the Khopat and Thane ST stand went on a strike on Friday morning. After the strike was called, hundreds of office goers were left stranded and inconvenienced.

The strike, which is also being supported by the workers’ union, kicked off at around 7 am with the ST workers demanding strict action against the accused. One of the ST drivers who participated in the protest, said on condition of anonymity, “What happened yesterday was really shocking. Tomorrow it can happen to anyone else too. So we want strict action to be taken against the person who attacked our fellow worker outside the Bhivandi ST stand and that he be arrested.”

Passengers stranded
The ST stands at Khopat and Thane West railway station are crucial hubs as many passengers going towards Murbad, Malshejghat, Kalyan, Bhiwandi and Shahpur board from here and were left in a lurch due to the sudden strike.

Jayesh Mhatre, one of the passengers, said, "I have to board the bus for Murbad, but after reaching the ST stand, I found out that the workers were striking. I have been waiting at the stand from more than 90 minutes now and I hope that they call off the strike soon so that there is no more inconvenience to the passengers who are dependent on ST services."

Death of a colleague
On Wednesday night, a scuffle between ST bus driver Prabhakar Gaikwad and an unidentified autorickshaw driver outside the depot got out of hand. What initially began as Gaikwad asking the autodriver to give him right of way turned ugly when the auto driver took offence and dragged Gaikwad out of the bus to bash him up. After colleagues and two patrolling policemen intervened, Gaikwad was asked to go file a complaint. But when he and his colleagues went to the police station, he felt uneasy and was immediately taken to a hospital where he passed away. Now, the workers are alleging that Gaikwad was a victim of negligence as the patrol constable refused to register a complaint on the spot and he died of internal bleeding.

Meanwhile, DCP Manoj Patil refuted the claim and said, "The constable had intervened and asked Gaikwad to register the compliant, but when he reached the police station, he suffered a heart attack and died of it. The post-mortem confirms this. Still, if any worker comes forward and registers the complaint, we will take action."

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