Truck drivers' associations staged protests across India against the recently passed Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) by the Centre on Tuesday with parts of Assam also witnessing strife.
The Subansiri Non-Government Drivers Association in Gogamukh has started a protest opposing the newly passed Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) by the central government.
Under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, which replaced the colonial era Indian Penal Code, drivers who cause an accident due to negligence and run away without informing the authorities would be viable to a sentence of 10 years or a fine of Rs 7 lakh .
“If we could afford the fine, we wouldn’t be working for 10-20 Thousands a month to begin with.” One protesting driver said.
“We can’t exit our vehicles after an accident; the locals would kill us without any consideration.” He further added.
As part of their protest, the drivers turned over their car keys to the owners, pledging not to drive their vehicles for an indefinite period of time, putting the owners in a precarious position.
“We won’t continue with this profession anymore; we have given up our keys to the owners, and will submit our licenses to the DTO office as we cannot function under this law.” Another protester said.
Echoing similar sentiments, truck drivers from Jagiroad and Bindukuri have also participated in protests against the new law.
At Bindukuri, led by Bindukuri Drivers Association, drivers took part in protests by burning effigies of Central Home Minister Amit Shah in front of of the Food Corporation of India warehouse at Bindukuri. The protesters have vowed to persist in their strike until the central government updates this new transportation law.
Jagiroad has seen protests against the BNS as well. If the law isn’t annulled to its previous iteration, they’ll continue their protests and return the vehicles to their respective owners, threatened the Jagiroad Regional Truck Drivers Association.
“If we’re jailed for 10 years for an accident we didn’t intend to commit, who will look after our families?” A protester said.
Notably, a nation-wide protest has been going on since the announcement of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita. Protests have broken out in several states, including Bihar, Punjab, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The protest has predominantly seen active participation from truck drivers as they perceive this new law as particularly unfair to them.