Maha: AIDWA Holds State Camp, March on Assembly
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THE AIDWA in Maharashtra successfully organised a three-day state study camp from December 9-11, 2022 at Godutai Parulekar Bidi Housing Complex, Solapur. A total of 103 selected activists from 19 districts, namely Thane, Palghar, Solapur, Mumbai, Pune, Raigad, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur, Wardha, Nagpur, Amravati, Chandrapur, Nashik, Jalna, Aurangabad, Nanded, Parbhani and Ahmednagar attended the camp. This state level camp was held after seven years, hence it elicited a lot of enthusiasm.
After the flag hoisting by state president Naseema Shaikh, the camp was inaugurated by CITU leader and former MLA Narasayya Adam. While welcoming all the activists to Solapur, he expressed concern about the increasing oppression on women and suggested that AIDWA should organise a massive state-wide agitation against it.
The topics and teachers were as follows: ‘Adverse effects of Modi government’s labour policies on women’ by CITU state general secretary M H Shaikh; 'The danger of communalism and how to combat it' by AIKS national president Ashok Dhawale; 'Disastrous economic policies of the BJP government' by AIKS state vice president Uday Narkar; 'Roots of gender oppression and challenges facing women today' by AIDWA national vice president Sudha Sundararaman; 'Importance of and building the organisation' by AIDWA national general secretary Mariam Dhawale.
The various sessions above were chaired by AIDWA state office bearers Sonya Gill, Sunanda Tidke, Durga Kakde, Hirabai Ghonge and Rehana Shaikh. There was a lively question answer session after each class. The class ended with the vote of thanks by Naseema Shaikh.
During the camp, local women formed a ‘Women's Chain’ of at least two kilometres in length on December 10, this being the 'World Human Rights Day'. Loud slogans were given against the oppression of women and the anti-women Modi regime. This women's chain ended in a public meeting that was addressed by AIDWA leaders.
An important meeting of the AIDWA state committee was held during this class. Many important decisions were taken in this meeting, including the completion of the 2022 membership by December 31. As a preparation for the all India conference to be held at Trivandrum from January 6-9, 2023, an innovative programme of flag hoisting in each branch was carried out on Susheela Gopalan’s death anniversary on December 19 and torch marches were carried out in villages and bastis on December 30.
The AIDWA Solapur district committee worked day and night to organise this study class. Our fraternal organisations – CITU, AIKS, DYFI, SFI also helped to make the study camp successful. All the activists returned to their respective districts with lots of food for thought and with the determination to strengthen the organisation in Maharashtra.
MARCH ON STATE ASSEMBLY AT NAGPUR
The Shinde-Fadnavis government of Maharashtra, a puppet of Delhi and Nagpur, suddenly realised that in inter-faith marriages, girls are subjected to domestic violence, and if they get married against the wishes of their families, most of the girls lose their lives like Shraddha Walkar. And then to ‘save’ our girls from this fate, the state government formed a committee without consulting any of the concerned parties such as the state women's commission, women's organisations fighting against domestic violence, lawyers, police etc. One fine day, the state government issued a government resolution (GR) that this committee would collect all the details about inter-caste and inter-faith couples and their families who have married and intend to marry, and then submit its recommendations to the state government. When it faced bitter opposition, the word 'inter-caste' was removed, with some lame excuse.
Basically, the right to choose a spouse is a right granted to citizens by the constitution. Government tampering with it is an invasion of the right to privacy. Hence, this committee is unconstitutional. Moreover, the committee comprises the women and child welfare minister, various secretaries of the department, a lawyer fighting the case for the murderers of Dr Narendra Dabholkar, and many other unknown names, who were never heard raising their voices for and fighting on women's issues. Besides, no data or statistics have been released by the government suggesting that domestic abuse occurs only in inter-religious marriages. Does the state government think that in arranged marriages of the same religion and caste, no domestic violence takes place and no counselling is needed?
And beyond this, there is a police system to register such cases. Women have won many laws after big struggles. There is a state commission for women in existence. How is this committee planning to carry out its work without all these? There is no clarity about this in the GR. There is fear that this committee may target boys and girls of a particular religion while implementing the agenda of this saffron communal government. Who will guarantee that the girls will not be imprisoned in their house after receiving their information?
The AIDWA and various women's organisations issued a statement demanding the immediate withdrawal of this committee, strict implementation of the existing laws against the perpetrators of domestic abuse, regardless of their religion. It received an overwhelming e- response with many endorsing the statement. But keeping in mind that the government will not relent unless this protest is expressed on the streets, AIDWA decided to organise a state-wide march on December 27, 2022 at Nagpur during the winter session of the legislative assembly. The march was supported by Jati Ant Sangharsh Samiti, DYFI, ASHA-Anganwadi workers and many other democratic secular organisations.
The march which started with loud slogans 'Sanvidhan Zindabad, Manusmriti Murdabad', ‘Nagrikon ke Niji Adhikar par Hamla karnewali Rajya Sarkar Murdabad', 'Mere Desh Mein Jaat-Paat-Dharam Ka Zagda Nahi Chalega', was stopped by the police near the assembly and it then turned into a public meeting. The government, which was initially under the illusion that there would not be any big mobilisation, immediately called the delegation for a meeting after seeing the hundreds of women and other participants. The delegation met the women and child welfare minister Mangalprabhat Lodha at the initiative of CPI(M) MLA Vinod Nikole and he assured time in Mumbai for a detailed discussion on this issue.
The delegation included AIDWA state general secretary Prachi Hatiwlekar, Wardha district president Pratiksha Hadke, Nagpur district secretary Anjali Tirpude, Nagpur AIKS president Arun Latkar and Jati Ant Sangharsh Samiti leader Vilas Jambhulkar. Along with them, the march was led by many other leaders. The march concluded with the determination to create public opinion against this government decision throughout the state.
Responding to the CEC decision to light 12 torches from the places of our earlier national conferences and bring them to the conference venue of the 13th AIDWA national conference at Thiruvananthapuram and relight them there, Maharashtra being the host of the 12th All India Conference held in December 2019, lit the torch in Mumbai. More than 150 activists from Mumbai and Raigad district attended. Singing revolutionary songs and giving slogans against the communal central government, the torch was handed over to AIDWA state general secretary Prachi Hatiwlekar and CEC member Sonya Gill by the Mumbai and Raigad AIDWA team.
On February 22, 1946, during the Royal Indian Navy (RIN) uprising, our veteran leader Comrade Kamal Donde was shot dead in British police firing, at the junction in Parel, Mumbai. This venue which has great historic importance was chosen for lighting the AIDWA national conference torch. Other women leaders who faced the same firing was our founder Comrade Ahilya Rangnekar and her sister Comrade Kusum Ranadive. A bullet hit Kusumtai in her leg, which she carried her whole life, while Ahilyatai had a miraculous escape.
During the programme Sonya Gill and Prachi Hatiwlekar revived the memories of this historic struggle and expressed the need to organise similar struggles to win our demands and fight against this communal central and state governments.
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