Anti-quota bill strike paralyses work in Uttar Pradesh
Work at most state government offices was paralysed for the second day Friday as employees protested the move for reservation in promotions in government jobs to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
A bill to provide such reservation, the Constitution 117th Amendment Bill, has been moved in parliament by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
Protestors said they would not withdraw the strike until the quota bill is rejected in parliament. The ruling Samajwadi Party in the state is hell bent in its opposition to the draft central legislation.
Agitating under the banner of the Sarvajan Hitay Sanrakshan Samiti, the government employees also held demonstrations at district headquarters and raised slogans against the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In Lucknow, demonstrators barged into the BJP office and tore off posters and banners put up there.
Later, police chased them away and brought the situation under control.
The main departments where work was paralysed were: housing, the public works department, mining, irrigation, the bridge corporation, power, agriculture and health. The Jawahar Bhawan and Indira Bhawan, which house government departments, saw thin attendance.
Shailendra Dubey, president of the Sarvajan Hitay Sanrakshan Samiti, addressing protestors said the amendement bill was "dangerous" and would severely damage careers in the government.
"If the quota in promotion bill is passed, it will be implemented with retrospective effect from 1995, and 15 to 20 years junior SC/ST employees will be made your seniors and bosses," he warned the striking government employees.
Dubey pointed out that the implementation of the bill would mean that more than two lakh general and OBC category employees would also be demoted.
Employees said that the trend towards such constitutional amendments, coming after Supreme Court judgments and motivated by political gains for the ruling dispensation at the centre, were dangerous.
The employees said the strike would continue until the bill is withdrawn.
Meanwhile, more than 4.5 lakh government employees in favour of the bill Friday worked overtime and said they would not let the government come to a grinding halt because of the strike.