Telangana Employees continue strike, talks fail

HYDERABAD: The indefinite strike by government employees in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh demanding a separate state continued for the 33rd day Saturday as the talks between leaders of employees and the government failed to break the deadlock.

The leaders of the Telangana Employees’ Joint Action Committee (TEJAC) held another round of talks with the cabinet sub-committee Saturday.

While the government claimed that there was some progress, the TEJAC leaders ruled out withdrawing the strike without the centre announcing a road map for carving a separate Telangana state.

A day after indications that TEJAC has softened its stand, its leaders accused the government of making false propaganda and conspiring to divide the employees.

"Our only demand is formation of separate Telangana state. Even if the government files false cases against us or removes us from service, we are not going to call off the strike," TEJAC leader Swami Goud told reporters.

Another leader Srinivas Goud alleged that the government was making a false claim that the employees are ready to call off their strike. "We have set some preconditions for talks but the government is calling them demands. Our only demand is Telangana state," he said.

The preconditions for talks include withdrawal of cases registered against striking employees, the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) which enables government to ban strikes, and a government order on ‘no work no pay’.

"At a time when all sections of civil society in Telangana are on strike, withdrawal of strike by employees will not resolve the crisis," Srinivas said while denying media reports that employees were contemplating to call off the strike as they have lost self-confidence.

The TEJAC leaders also alleged that media distorted the statement of Swami.

"He (Swami) only stated that leaders of Congress and TDP (Telugu Desam Party) from Telangana are not discharging their historic responsibility of fighting for separate state," Srinivas said.

A few minutes before TEJAC leaders spoke to the media, a minister and member of the cabinet sub-committee D. Nagender claimed that some progress was made in the talks.

He also stated that the government is ready to consider TEJAC’s demands.

On Telangana issue, Nagender said it was conveyed to the employees’ leaders that the issue is under active consideration of the central government and hoped that a solution would be found soon.(IANS)

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