People's Democracy

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


No. 43

October 27, 2013






Women’s Association Holds State Conference


Ch Sundari Devi


THE All Manipur Democratic Women’s Association (AMDWA), an affiliate of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, held its fourth state conference on September 24 and 25, 2013. Held at Youth Hostel at Khuman Lampak in Imphal, the capital city of Manipur, the conference was attended by 44 delegates representing the association’s units in different districts of the state. From the AIDWA centre, the conference was attended by its treasurer Barnali Biswas, AIDWA assistant secretary Krishna Rikshit and AIDWA secretariat member Anwara Mirza.


The inaugural session of the conference took place on September 24, at the conference hall of the Youth Centre, Khuman Lampak. The session started with the flag hoisting by Y Romola Devi, president of the AMDWA, followed by floral tributes to martyrs and the condolences.


The inaugural session was graced by Mrs M C Mary Kom, eminent boxer and Padma Bhushan award winner, as the chief guest. W Shushila Devi, director of the Manipur State Archives, Guru Nalini of the J N Dance Academy, and L Kiranbala Devi, vice president of the All Manipur Bar Association, were present as guests of honour.


In her address to the inaugural session, Barnali Biswas elaborated the role played by women in the freedom struggle as well as the role of many historic movements of women as they rose in different parts of our country. She categorically stated that women are facing many problems today in the socio-political and economic life of our country. Krishna Rikshit, assistant secretary of the AIDWA, lauded the very participative and courageous tradition of Manipur women in the past, as was evident from the information she had, and she emphasised the need to carry this tradition forward in order to strengthen the organisation and movement.


The delegates session started on September 24 evening, with the election of a presidium comprising Y Romola Devi, M Randhoni Devi and A Binodini Devi. The steering committee comprised Y Chandrabali Devi and H Santibala Devi and the minutes committee comprised Th Biroza and Y Shanti Devi.


Ch Sundari, secretary of the AMDWA, placed a draft report before the conference. The eight-page printed draft report dealt with the international and national situations today as well as that in Manipur. It also included a work report and sections on the organisational condition and future tasks.


While dealing with the issues and problems facing the state of Manipur, the draft report said women in the state are facing certain specific problems too. Manipur women have a tradition of participation in the socio-cultural life of the state, while they also make substantial contributions in the economic and other activities of the household. Yet they are still far from getting their due at the political level, and one of the core responsibilities of the IMDWA is to bring them on an organised platform for political activity.


Atrocities and discrimination against women is a big issue in the state. According to the latest report of the National Crime Record Bureau, Manipur stood second in ranking after West Bengal. Terrible incidents were perpetrated, among others, by the personnel of armed forces of the central as well as state government, and also by non-state actors and criminals. It devolves upon the AMDWA and other democratic organisations to take due note of these dreadful issues. At Chanu, Sharmila has been continuing her indefinite hunger strike for 12 long years, demanding the withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) of 1985, and she has survived till now only due to force feeding through nose. While saluting her courage and determination, the AMDWA conference report referred to certain cases of discrimination and multifaceted problems and issues which Manipuri women are facing in many fields --- as street vendors, in brick kilns, at construction sites or sand mining sites and in agricultural fields etc. It is our big responsibility that we fight for them and bring them into our organisational fold, the report stressed.


The report said the AMDWA celebrates three days in the state every year in a vocal manner. These are March 8, the International Women’s Day; September 25, the Foundation Day of AMDWA; and December 12, the Nupilal Day. Over the last four years, the AMDWA has been regular in making use of all these functions each year. This year it also organised a one day convention on the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008.


In the next session, eight delegates took part in the discussion on the report. After the secretary’s reply to the discussion, the conference adopted the draft report unanimously with some amendments.


The conference adopted seven resolutions. Through six of these resolutions, it put forward the following demands:


1) Crimes against women should be stopped immediately. Those who commit crimes against women must be punished without delay.


2). General public should be involved in the management of MGNREGA regarding job allocation etc. Wage payments should be made in due time.


3) Medical facilities should be ensured to the rural people. Proper implementation of the National Rural Health Mission should be ensured and freed from corrupt practices.


4) Under the Food Security Act, seven kg of rice must be provided per head.


5) All programmes under the Integrated Child Development Scheme, Midday Meal, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and RMSA should be implemented properly without any misuse of funds and corrupt practices.


6). The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (1985) must be repealed. Humane efforts must be made to save Sharmila.


Through another resolution, the conference decided upon a membership target of 10,000 for the current year.


The conference elected a new, 23 member state committee which, in turn, elected a nine member state secretariat. While M Randhoni Devi was elected president, Ch Sundari Devi is the secretary of the AMDWA till the next conference. A Binodini Devi, Y Romola Devi and L Tarunibala Devi are the vice presidents while L Thoibi Devi, Th Biroza Devi and S Ibetombi Devi are the joint secretaries. Y Chandrabali is the treasurer.