Lakhs of employees of the Uttar Pradesh government on Friday took out rallies and staged 'dharna' across state protesting against the bill seeking to provide reservation to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in promotion in government jobs.
According to Sarvjan Hitai Sanrakshan Samiti, which is spearheading the agitation, over 18 lakh employees, barring those involved in essential services such as power, water, health and transport sectors, took part in the strike and participated in protest meetings and rallies.
"Through these rallies and meetings the employees stressed on their demand for immediate withdrawal of the amendment bill and warned that their indefinite strike would continue till their demands were not met," said Shailendra Dubey, president of the Samiti.
In the state capital, thousands of employees of all the major departments including the public works department, irrigation, horticulture and others took out a rally and later staged a 'virodh sabha' before the state Assembly, Dubey said.
The striking employees also staged a demonstration in front of the Bharatiya Janata Party office and raised slogans against Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley's speech favouring reservation yesterday on the issue, Dubey said.
Terming reservation as dangerous for the careers of the employees, Dubey claimed once the bill is passed it would come into force since 1995, following which new seniority lists will be prepared.
This would disrupt the entire hierarchy in government services, he said reservation in promotion is an attempt to disturb the basic structure of the Constitution and encroach upon the right to equality, he claimed.
Meanwhile, employees favouring reservation under the banner of 'aarakshan bachao sangharsh samiti' claimed that almost 10 lakh employees worked for four hours extra in favour of the move.
Convener of the samiti, Avdhesh Kumar Verma, alleged that departmental heads who are against reservation got the offices locked and said that a memorandum has been sent to the state government for getting the offices opened from Saturday.