Oil tanker operators supplying petroleum products to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh went on an indefinite strike on Sunday, alleging that they were being targeted by mobs in the Valley.
“In view of repeated attacks on the oil tankers and merciless beating of drivers and cleaners by miscreants in the Valley, all Jammu and Kashmir oil tanker operators have decided to suspend petrol, diesel and kerosene oil supplies,” Anand Sharma, president of Jammu and Kashmir Petrol Tanker Owners Association told the media here.
Sharma alleged that the failure of security agencies to protect drivers, cleaners and tankers had forced the association to take this decision.
“Oil tanker drivers have been targeted for the last several days in the Valley. Two tanker drivers were mercilessly beaten by a mob near Khannabal in Anantnag district on Saturday. Both arms of the drivers were fractured. The vehicles were also badly damaged,” he said, adding, “At least a dozen tankers have been damaged so far.”
“The government has totally failed to ensure security to the drivers and vehicles operating there,” Sharma alleged.
On Friday, panic had gripped people in the Valley when rumours spread saying the authorities had decided to suspend fuel supplies to the Valley.
Baseer Khan, Kashmir Divisional Commissioner had denied the rumours saying adequate security would be provided to oil tanker operators to ensure uninterrupted supply to the Valley.
The decision of the oil tanker owners association to go on a strike is likely to plunge the Valley into a fuel crisis at a time when the authorities are battling an unrest that has so far left 67 people dead and nearly 5,000 injured.
Meanwhile, talking to Newspoint president oil tank drivers union Khairudin Wani said that tomorrow they are convening a meeting to discuss future course of strike.
“Our members were attacked in valley, we stopped service and then the administration assured us that they will provide us security. On their assurances we resumed our service, but again mob attacked us and left many of our drivers injured,” said Wani, adding the government has to ensure proper security.
When asked about suspension of supply to Jammu, he said that the supply will remain affected across the state until government provides them security.