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Moment when public protests explode ...
against railway strikers!

The strike launched by railway trade unions from last evening is still active. Station masters, drivers, guards and 11 grades have protested against suspension of the letter forwarded by them to the minister to correct their salary anomalies and because of starting the strike yesterday (8) from 3.00 pm without prior notification, a large number of commuters who were to go back home last evening after work were subject to inconvenience. As a consequence they had
behaved in an outrageous manner damaging property in Colombo, Fort and Maradana yesterday and had even tried to assault authorities, it was reported and had proceeded to hamper bus-travel and had thus engaged in blocking the main route for over 2 hours continuing the protest. As a result of this railway strike, not only railway travellers but even people travelling in buses too were handicapped. 

It was also reported that commuters were stranded inside Fort railway station unable to go back to their homes until about 10.30 in the night. Considering the state of tension which prevailed there, the special task force had to be summoned to Colombo Fort railway station. In the process, an incident where some drivers of trains arriving at Fort railway station before the strike went into action were cordoned by the commuters. Later on, it was possible to commence one train to leave to Polgahawela last night with mediation of security forces. 

The Transport Ministry has decided to recall services of retired train drivers. Mr. Ramal Siriwardena, chairman of Sri Lanka Transport Board says that 6000 buses have been put on the roads on behalf of commuters who have encountered difficulties in travel because of the railway strikers. The chairman also stated that since this is a holiday season for schools, 750 buses used as school-service have been used to transport the normal passenger and that all leave of CTB workers has been cancelled. 

An announcement has been released by the Prime Minister's office in connection with this incident and what is stated there is to get together as one nation and that time has come to defeat the trade union terrorism in the same manner that the previous terrorism was defeated. What Minister Sagala Ratnayaka says is that trade union terrorism should be defeated both on principle as well as on a practical level. The press release further says that what railway trade unions displayed yesterday (8) was that the trade unions was terrorists and that it possessed a selfish mentality thinking that it relied on their requirements and all requirements of others are of no significance to them. Launching a strike should be the last resort of a trade union and that it never should be used as their first weapon at all. It is also mentioned in the announcement that asking that their demands be met by keeping the gun at the heads of commuters going back home and advanced level students which does not fit into any modest or  framework of etiquettes as such. 

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