People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 40

October 02, 2011

Police Repression on

Anganwadi Workers in Punjab



ANGANWADI employees under the banner of Anganwadi Mulajam Union, Punjab, have been conducting a relay hunger strike in front of the Director of Social Security, Women and Child Development, Punjab since August 23, 2011 to press their demands of immediate payment of arrears, increase in the remuneration paid by the state government, pension and other social security benefits, recruitment to the posts of supervisors, provision of LPG and stoves in all the anganwadi centres, fixation of TA/ DA etc. Every day around 60 anganwadi employees, from one designated sector from different projects in a district, were sitting on hunger strike continuously since the last more than one month. The state government made some assurances but did not release the relevant government orders on the pretext of the impending elections to the SGPC. However, when the elections were over and the results too were declared, and the government did not issue the concerned order, the union decided to organise a rally to the state assembly.


Instead of talking to the union, the government let loose the police on the peacefully demonstrating anganwadi employees. The police manhandled and lathicharged the anganwadi employees and the union leaders and took them to the police station in sector 34.  In the police station Sohan Singh, sub inspector and Kulwaranjeet Singh, ASI not only used filthy and abusive language but also went to the extent of slapping an anganwadi worker Seema Rani and tried to lock her up in a separate room to terrorise her. Similarly the president and vice president of the union Usha Rani and Krishna Devi were also dragged to separate rooms by both the police. They were also beaten and abused. The police officers also tried to put some male accused in the same room where anganwadi workers were locked up.


But the way in which the leaders of the union faced police torture and frustrated all their attempts to terrorise the leaders and activists of the union proved that police repression could never succeed in crushing the voice of the people who are struggling for their genuine demands and determined to achieve success. When all the arrested 19 leaders of Anganwadi Mulajam Union were released on bail, a rally was again held near local bus stand which was addressed by Raghunath Singh, general secretary, Chander Sekhar, vice president of Punjab state committee of CITU, Usha Rani and Harjeet Kaur, president and general secretary of Anganwadi Mulajam Union, Punjab and others. The speakers strongly condemned the police atrocities and demanded immediate punishment of the police officers responsible for it. They also announced their determination to continue their struggle till their genuine demands are met. Protest demonstrations were organised throughout the state condemning the police atrocities on the union leaders. It was also decided to hold a massive joint March to Vidhan Sabha of anganwadi employees, ASHAs, and mid day meal workers on October 4.