Mangaluru, Jan 03, 2016: The five-day old strike by bullet tanker drivers at Katipalla, on the outskirts of the city appear to have ended with tankers transporting gas out of Mangalore LPG Import Facility being operated by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd., at Katipalla on Saturday.
A HPCL official told The Hindu that 360 loaded tankers transported the gas till evening on Saturday. As many tankers had already been loaded with gas and were awaiting drivers. Another 100 tankers were set to move out late in the night on Saturday, he said.
But the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), which was supporting the strike by drivers alleged at a press conference that drivers were forced to report for duty by police and owners of tankers who arrived from Tamil Nadu.
Muneer Katipalla, president, State unit of the DYFI, alleged that the police removed the tent erected by protesting drivers and the tanker owners also hired the services of drivers who came from Tamil Nadu for transporting gas. He alleged that police lathi charged some protesting drivers and arrested them.
But a police official denied it and said that obstruction for transporting LPG which was an essential commodity, would affect many. Hence, the police took some protesters into preventive custody.
The drivers were in protest against the alleged murder of a tanker driver and assault on its cleaner, both from Tamil Nadu, near Charalapalli in Andhra Pradesh on December 13. It was reportedly a road-rage incident. The tanker in question reportedly carried gas from Mangaluru.
Mr. Katipalla said that the association of tanker owners in Namakkal, Tamil Nadu should provide at least Rs. 10 lakh as compensation to the family of the driver who was allegedly murdered and the injured cleaner should also be compensated.
He said that those who allegedly killed the driver should be arrested.