Quota Bill: 18 lakh govt employees go on strike

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Protesting against the constitutional amendment Bill for granting reservation in promotion, nearly 18 lakh general category employees of the state government went on an indefinite strike on Thursday. However, essential services like power, water, health and transport were exempted.

The Sarvjan Hitay Sanrakshan Samiti, an umbrella organisation of upper caste and OBC employees which is spearheading the agitation against reservation in promotion, took the decision after SP MPs staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha, protesting against the proposed amendment.

"The Bill is being forcibly passed in the RS. It is undemocratic and both the Congress and the BJP are hand in glove on the issue. Therefore, we have decided to go on an indefinite strike," said Shailendra Dubey, president of SHSS.

Earlier in the day, SHSS members took out a procession from Parivartan Chowk to the General Post Office in Hazratganj, carrying placards and shouting slogans against the Bill. An alert was issued to all departments to remain prepared for a flash strike.

The SHSS has been holding demonstrations every day at Lucknow and other district headquarters since the onset of the winter session of Parliament. It said the demonstrations would continue.

SHSS expressed its gratitude to the SP for taking a tough stand against the Bill and cautioned the Congress and BJP that they will have to pay a price for their role. "Both the Congress and BJP will be deprived of our votes. We have a strength of 18 lakh employees which is 80 per cent of the total work force in the state," Dubey said.

On the other hand, the Aarakshan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, which is an organisation of reserved category employees and is pressing for early passage of the Bill, announced that its members will work for four additional hours during the strike.

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