E. Suresh Kumar does not know which door to knock at any more. “If they do not heed the order of the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister, then whom should I approach?” he asks.
He has been waging a battle for the last more than 28 years with the Indian Railways demanding a job, which the National Human Rights Commission, the Railway Board, and the Central Administrative Tribunal have deemed as rightfully his.
Suresh Kumar worked as a casual labourer in the capacity of a Mappila Khalasi under the engineering wing of the Southern Railway during the construction of the railway line between Hassan and Mangaluru in 1978-79. He worked under the Inspector of Works, Sakleshpur, in the same position during 1980-81. Together he worked for the Railways for 962 days.
The Supreme Court had ordered the Railways to consider all those who were casual labourers on January 1, 1981 and had completed 360 working days as temporary labourers and to absorb those with the longest service, based on which Suresh Kumar was eligible for the job.
However, he was left out of the list even as some of his juniors with shorter service were absorbed.
His struggle to be included in the empanelled list started in 1990. Despite memorandums and court orders, the Railway General Manager refused to offer him the job.
Speaking to reporters here recently, Suresh Kumar said he, being 59 years old, had only one year of service left, even if he was absorbed now.
Moreover, he is from a poor financial background.
He said the attitude of railway officials over the years had been nothing but cruel and demanded that he be absorbed into the service and paid compensation with retrospective effect since 1990 in accordance with the Supreme Court order.