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Truck Drivers’ Nationwide Protests Cease Following Government Assurances on New Hit-and-Run Law

In a pivotal development, the nationwide protests led by truck drivers against the recently proposed hit-and-run law have come to an end after the government provided assurances to the All India Motor Transport Association (AIMTC). The protests erupted in response to the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, a new criminal code, which prescribed stricter punishments for hit-and-run cases.

After a meeting with Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, AIMTC Chairman Malkit Singh Bal announced that the government had clarified that the new laws had not been implemented yet. Moreover, the implementation would only occur after thorough consultations with AIMTC. “We met and discussed the provisions under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, and all issues have been resolved. The new laws have not been implemented yet and will only be implemented after consultation with AIMTC,” stated Bal.

Following this assurance, the transport body declared an end to the truck drivers’ strike, urging all drivers to resume their operations promptly. The hit-and-run law’s new provisions proposed a substantial increase in penalties, including a potential jail term of up to 10 years or a ₹7 lakh fine for truck drivers failing to report accidents promptly. The previous Indian Penal Code (IPC) stipulated a two-year imprisonment for the offense.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla emphasized the government’s commitment to engaging in discussions with AIMTC representatives before implementing the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 106/2. The resolution of the protests alleviated concerns that had triggered chaos in several states, with people resorting to panic buying and petrol pumps experiencing shortages.

The truck drivers’ demonstrations also sparked a political dispute between the government and opposition parties. Congress, in particular, criticized the stringent provisions, labeling them as an “extortionist network” and “organized corruption.” Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge accused the government of penalizing the poor and hindering infrastructure projects.

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