Private bus owners who had resorted to Gandhian method of hunger strike at the Junta House in Panjim housing the Directorate of Transport office, turned violent on Wednesday turning abusive and assaulting journalists besides threatening them with dire consequences.
The All Goa Private Bus Owners Association (AGPBOA) had launched a hunger strike from Monday demanding that the department revoke the cancellation of temporary permits of those buses that did not ply on 15th April in response to the bandh call given by the association.
On Wednesday, initially the bus owners tried to prevent Director of Transport Arun Dessai from entering his office and later on AGPBOA General Secretary Sudip Tamankar barged into the Director’s office which was captured by the video journalists.
Emerging out of the Director’s cabin where it was apparent that the Director had refused to AGPBOA’s demand to revoke the cancellation, Sudip turned abusive and accused the journalists of “being bought over”.
Taking a cue from their leader, some other private bus owners gathered there assaulted some of the journalists targeting the video journalists in particular and even threatened them with dire consequences.
Police immediately swung into action and arrested 16 bus owners including two who tried to stop buses at the Kadamba Transport Corporation’s Panjim bus stand. The Goa Journalists Association (GUJ) and Photo Journalists Association filed complaints with the Panjim Police.
GUJ President Prakash Kamat while terming the bus operators’ behavour as “disturbing” said the association will take up the matter with the managements to enforce a total boycott of the AGBOA in future.