Truck Drivers Protests End After Govt Assurances on New Hit-and-Run Law
Truck Drivers Protests End After Govt Assurances on New Hit-and-Run Law

NEW DELHI: Nationwide protests by truck drivers against a new hit-and-run law have been called off following reassurances from the government. The All India Motor Transport Association (AIMTC) decided to end the strikes after a meeting with Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla. The government pledged that the new laws, known as Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, have not yet been enforced and will only come into effect after discussions with AIMTC.

Malkit Singh Bal, AIMTC's chairman, affirmed, "We discussed the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita's provisions, and all concerns have been addressed. These new laws have not been put into action and will only be implemented after discussions with AIMTC."

The transport body announced the imminent conclusion of the truck drivers' strike, urging all drivers to resume their operations.

The protests stemmed from objections to heightened penalties outlined in the new criminal code regarding hit-and-run incidents. Under the new provisions, truck drivers could face up to 10 years in jail or a fine of ₹7 lakh if they flee an accident scene or fail to report the incident to authorities. Previously, under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the punishment for such offenses was imprisonment for 2 years.

Ajay Bhalla, the Union Home Secretary, stated, "We've engaged in discussions with representatives from the All India Motor Transport Congress. The government wishes to clarify that the new rule has not yet been implemented. Before implementing Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 106/2, we intend to consult with representatives from the All India Motor Transport Congress."

The nationwide truck drivers' protest led to chaos in various states, prompting panic buying and fears of dwindling supplies. Fuel shortages were observed at many petrol pumps nationwide due to people queuing up for fuel amidst uncertainties surrounding the drivers' protests.

Political Controversy and Opposition Response

The truck drivers' protests sparked a political dispute between the government and opposition parties. The Congress party criticized the new stringent provisions, arguing that they could foster an "extortionist network" and "organized corruption." Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge accused the government of penalizing the poor and stalling infrastructure projects.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi criticized the government's approach, stating, "Creating laws without consulting those affected and without dialogue with the opposition is an assault on democracy. While over 150 MPs were suspended, the government rushed to pass a law affecting drivers, the backbone of the Indian economy, which could have dire consequences."

Gandhi further added, "Subjecting hard-working individuals with limited incomes to harsh legal penalties can severely impact their lives. Additionally, the misuse of this law could lead to 'recovery mechanisms' and organized corruption. The government, ruling with authoritarianism, has blurred the line between 'imperial orders' and 'justice'."
Read More:

Coping with a Hit-and-Run: Essential Steps After the Incident

Union Home Secy Ajay Bhalla to Meet AITC Reps Today at 7 pmPeeping into Truckers' Protest Against India's New Hit-and-Run Law

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