A Council of Minister of Sukhvinder Singh’s cabinet Anirudh Singh drew sharp reaction and opposition from the members of the Sirmaur taxi union here Tuesday who lodged a demonstration over unilateral action by police against them under the Political influence of the Minister.
A number of Taxi union and Tourist guides belonging to Sirmaur district assembled at the deputy commissioner’s office here on Tuesday, accusing Rural Development Minister Anirudh Singh of bias over his comment against principles from the district working in Shimla.
Incidents belonged to a minor altercation between two groups of Taxi unions belonging to the capital town of Shimla and Sirmaur last week when the rural development minister publically extended his political influence to support the Shimla taxi Union and pressurized police to book and take action against Sirmour taxi operators and Tourist guide.
Protesters claimed that instead of attempting to pacify the Shimla taxi union, Anirudh Singh on Monday said all those involved in the scuffle would be arrested and asked the taxi drivers to be patient.
The Sirmaur taxi union protested against the statement on Tuesday, saying Singh is a minister of the entire state and not just Shimla. Politics of bias towards a district will not be tolerated, they said.
Lending support to the protest, Leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur issued a statement saying Anirudh Singh’s statement was an attack on the federal structure and was aimed at breaking the state.
BJP alleged that police were not even registering complaints of injured members of the Sirmaur taxi union.
The law-and-order situation in the state has deteriorated in the past six months and the chief minister has no control over his ministers, Thakur added.
Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi informed that ten people were arrested and 16 vehicles impounded following last week’s scuffle and FIRs were registered based on complaints from both sides.
A committee has been constituted to ensure that the situation does not go out of hand, he added.
Trouble started when a driver of the Sirmaur taxi union showing hotel rooms to a tourist near Auckland Tunnel in Shimla town’s Lakkar Bazaar area was allegedly thrashed by some people of the Shimla taxi union.
The Shimla union members, however, claimed that it was the taxi driver of Sirmaur who used abusive language and started the fight.
Some members of the Sukh government also criticized the Minister for being unbiased and creating rifts between taxi operators for the purpose of vote banks.
Shimla including Sirmaur and Kashmiri migratory workers not only facilitate the tourist to their hotels and earn their bread and butter through the tourist coolie and other ancillary activities.