In a developing standoff, the All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation, a coalition of trade unions representing drivers and transport workers, is warning of intensified protests unless the government withdraws certain provisions from the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS).
The contentious rules, particularly Sections 104(1) and (2), have sparked widespread dissatisfaction, drawing support from the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).
As reported by The Hindu, despite the All India Motor Transport Congress calling off their protests, several driver unions remain steadfast in their opposition.
R Lakshmaiah, the General Secretary of the federation, criticised the government's stance, arguing that accidents are often beyond the driver's control due to factors like faulty roads and bad weather.
Lakshmaiah warned that if the government doesn't budge, drivers will intensify their struggle.
He emphasised that punishing drivers without addressing the root causes is ineffective and unfair.
Tapan Sen, General Secretary of the CITU, expressed dissatisfaction with the government's dismissive approach to reconsidering certain BNS sections.
Sen criticised the lack of respect for democratic processes and voiced wholehearted support for the ongoing strike by road transport workers.
While the All India Motor Transport Congress has called off its protests after talks with the Ministry of Home Affairs, many driver unions pledge to continue their protests.
The core of their opposition lies in the yet-to-be-implemented BNS, specifically Sections 106(1) and 106(2), which prescribe penalties for "hit and run" cases.
Protesters fear these laws unfairly penalise drivers, potentially leading to imprisonment.
Also, they are demanding the withdrawal of the impending law and the establishment of a "drivers' aayog" to provide legal support, along with benefits like provident fund and pension, and ensuring quality education for their children.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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