Anganwadi (childcare) workers and helpers in Delhi from October 10th-12th courageously continued to stage their protest by undertaking a hunger strike against the sacking of nearly 1,000 fellow workers who participated in a 39-day strike that ended on March 14. Delhi State Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union members staged a two-day hunger protest outside the Women and Child Development Office in Delhi on October 10. The union made a call for the Women and Child Development Department to appeal to the High Court to overturn the terminations.
Thousands of anganwadi workers across Delhi walked out on January 31 to demand an increase in their honorarium and fixed working hours. They terminated the strike after the government imposed its anti-strike Essential Services Maintenance Act and began issuing termination notices against striking workers. Nearly 12,000 workers were issued show-cause notices by the Delhi government.
Union secretary Shivani spoke about how the consolidation of this struggle inspired the workers movements nationwide, boosting the striking capacity of workers. She summed up the relentless manner the Union battled even in the most troubled waters, never conceding an inch to the exploiter classes, or retreating in any juncture. In her view the struggle embarrassed or shook not only the AAP govt .but the entire capitalist classes in their very den. Other leaders addressed how unjust the administration was in the induction of it’s policies, which paid sacrosanct attention to the welfare of the workers. They vowed that they would take the matter to court, and initiate legal procedure.
A gherao was launched on some political leaders near the Rajyapal office on October 11th by women and children.Inspite of fierce resistance, the media did it’s utmost to distort the correct facts, and discredit the agitation. She stated that the workers would come out on the streets and wage a battle to the very last if the demands were not addressed, harbouring no fear of government intimidation .Shivani also pledged that they would boot the ‘bourgeois’ or ruling class parties.
Inspiring cultural programmes were staged with a play performed ‘Aprajita’ , ,which at the vey surface exposed the tyranny of the capitalist system, and got an overwhelming response from the audience. Union convenor Priyabanda pledged that the hunger strike hartal would continue for 2 days, which it did.
We must salute the qualitative and persistent spirit of the Delhi Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union for shimmering the flame of resistance to create such buoyancy in the morale of the workers It is a reflection of their persistent mass political work in educating workers. Workers paper “Bigul’ plaid an instrumental role in the political development of the struggle, distinguishing political struggle from mere economism,which is such predominant feature in the workers movement. It is most complementary the consistency with which this group has organised contract labour and devised new forms of organising workers, in bastis.This struggle is part and parcel of the fight to overhaul the barbaric contract system and confront the nefarious anti-people policies of the ruling classes.
Harsh Thakor is freelance journalist who covers mass movements around India and studies workers movements.