The Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union of Delhi in recent times have waged a relentless struggle against the barbaric conditions of termination enforced. It recently launched a 38 day strike embarrassing the rulers in their backyard. The Delhi police mercilessly ripped through the peaceful gathering.
Anganwadi workers and helpers in Delhi waged a sustained agitation against the illegal terminations after the conclusion of the 38-day historic strike. In this context, they have repeatedly submitted their demands through various memorandums to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.
In a dialogue with the Lieutenant Governor that occurred on 16th July, these anganwadi caregivers were promised that action will be taken promptly by the Lt Governor on the issue of unconstitutional termination and on imposition of HESMA. After completion of 20 days, anganwadi workers had gathered again peacefully at the Lieutenant Governor’s residence to obtain information about the proceedings so far. But the Delhi Police manhandled the women workers on behalf of BJP and AAP. The Delhi Police unleashed violence against protesting women.
When women workers did not bow down to the threats of the Delhi Police, the police personnel, including male policemen roped the women into police vehicles and took them to the Maurice Nagar Cyber Police Station. Not only were the women treated in a humiliating manner, but even phones of women who recorded police brutality were flung on the ground.. Many anganwadi workers became renderless victims of injuries due to the police brutality, others were profusely bleeding and some women fell unconscious. The women were forcefully detained at the Maurice Nagar Police Station for a few hours and were threatened to withdraw the protest. At around 4:30 PM women workers themselves came out of the police station and they thence commenced a rally. The police personnel again tried to dissuade them but had to ultimately retreat before the women workers, who courageously relented.
A protest rally was organised from Maurice Nagar to Arts Faculty under the banner of Delhi State Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union. The rally concluded at the Arts Faculty where Shivani, president of DSAWHU addressed the gathering. She narrated that the very BJP, which was pretending to be supportive of anganwadi workers only a few weeks ago, is inciting the Delhi Police to intimidate the women workers.
The Kejriwal government were unsuccessful in ending the historic strike that went on for 38 days from January 31st this year. It was only after this failure that the Delhi Government in collaboration with BJP was compelled to declare ‘HESMA’ on the strike through an order issued by the Lt. Governor. Both these parties serve a common cause in suppressing labourers and women workers. The BJP has now realised that it cannot defend itself by denying its role in the imposition of HESMA. So the BJP and the Lt Governor of Delhi refuse to address of the Union’s question in regard to this matter. However the anganwadi workers are determined not to surrender without receiving a response from the Lt Governor on the issue of termination and HESMA. Shivani further stated that anganwadi workers will not be forced into submission by the cowardly threats of the Delhi Police. Even though the Delhi Police mercilessly violated the Unions right to raise questions, it is determined to stage a protest at the LG House very soon.
The determination of the Workers is awe inspiring and an example of workers all over India. The struggle is enabling workers to imbibe many political lessons of struggle.
Harsh Thakor is freelance journalist who has covered mass movements all around India and been in touch with working class movements