GUJARAT: Anganwadi Workers Brave Mass-scale Arrest and Repression

GUJARAT Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union has been on strike since February 21, 2017 against non-provisioning of anything in the state budget on their basic demands. They decided to conclude the strike on March 8 through a massive rally at Ahmedabad.  The BJP government in the state tried all repressive measures to break the strike including preemptive arrests in a big way. But the strike continued successfully braving all atrocities.  The government was not ready for talks.

Earlier, the anganwadi workers and helpers in Gujarat went on a three-day strike from February 16-18, demanding that the state budget should provide for their demands. But when the state budget which was placed on February 20, did not take into account their demands, the workers and helpers went on an indefinite strike the next very day, on February 21.

On March 8, the government denied permission for a peaceful dharna at Gandhi Ashram. It was on the plea that the prime minister was supposed to speak in a meeting there. They arrested leaders from districts. But in spite of that, thousands of anganwadi and Asha workers assembled in Ahmedabad. The police arrested more than 3000 workers and also Gujarat CITU secretary Arun Mehta, AR Sindhu, secretary of CITU and general secretary of All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFWAH) and Naliniben of AIDWA. They are still in custody.

Gujarat Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union has been carrying on statewide struggles demanding increase in their honorarium and announcement of minimum wage, increase in their retirement age limit, introduction of gratuity, and extension of provident  fund, ESI and  pension. They are also demanding fixed remuneration for ASHA workers and regularisation of facilitators of all the schemes. All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (CITU) denounced the repressive action by the BJP government in the state on the anganwadi and ASHA workers and demanded the government to concede to the just demands of the workers and immediate release of all arrested workers.

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