Agency: After a meeting with Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, the All India Motor Transport Association (AIMTC) decided to end the nationwide truck drivers protests against the new hit-and-run law. The government assured the members of the transport body that the new laws have not been implemented yet and will only be implemented after consultation with AIMTC.
“We met and discussed the provisions under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, and all issues have been resolved. The new laws have nor been implemented yet and will only be implemented after consultation with AIMTC,” Malkit Singh Bal, the chairman of the AIMTC said.
The transport body said that the truck drivers strike will end soon and all the drivers must resume the operations.
The truck drivers have announced a strike against the increase in punishment in the hit-and-run cases under the new criminal code- Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita. The new provisions prescribe a jail term of up to 10 years or ₹7 lakh fine if a truck driver flees an accident spot or fails to report the incident to the authorities. In the erstwhile Indian Penal Code (IPC), the punishment for the offense was 2 years imprisonment.
“We had a discussion with All India Motor Transport Congress representatives, govt want to say that the new rule has not been implemented yet, we all want to say that before implementing Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 106/2, we will have a discussion with All India Motor Transport Congress representatives and then only we will take a decision,” Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said.
The nationwide truck drivers protest led to chaos in several states as people indulged in ‘panic buying’ fearing drying up of stocks. Many petrol pumps ran out of fuel across the country as people queued up to get fuel supplies amid uncertainty over the drivers protest.
Opposition corners government
The truck drivers protests also ignited a political row between the government and opposition parties. Congress claimed that the new stringent provisions would lead to an “extortionist network” and “organized corruption.” Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge accused the government of “penalizing the poor” and stalling infrastructure projects.
“The insistence on making laws without discussion with the affected class and without dialogue with the opposition is a continuous attack on the soul of democracy. While more than 150 MPs were suspended, Shahenshah in Parliament enacted a law against drivers, the backbone of the Indian economy, which could have fatal consequences,” Congress MP Rahul Gandhi posted on social media platform X.
“Throwing hard-working class with limited earnings into the harsh legal furnace can badly affect their lives. Also, misuse of this law can lead to ‘recovery mechanisms’ along with organized corruption. The government which runs democracy with the whip has forgotten the difference between ’emperor’s directive’ and ‘justice’,” Gandhi added.