Prime Minister Indira Gandhi won parliamentary approval yesterday for a bill that bans strikes by employees of India's essential services. The bill gives the government sweeping powers to fire strikers, to arrest them without warrant, try them summarily, and impose fines and jail sentences.
Opposition members tore up copies of the bill, which they had fought during two days of heated debate. The measure was finally passed unanimously after the opposition walked out of the assembly in a final protest.
Thousands of workers went on a 24-hour strike against the new measures last Friday in a protest organized by the Communist-dominated West Bengal state government.