People's Democracy

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


No. 46

November 17, 2013






Save ICDS Jatha Launched from Jallianwala Bagh


Raghunath Singh


AT the call of the CITU affiliated Anganwadi Mulazim Union of Punjab (AMUP) a “Save the ICDS Jatha March” was launched from the historic Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar on November 7, the historic day of Great October Revolution. The state level jatha march, led by Usha Rani (president), Harjit Kaur (general secretary), Subhash Rani (finance secretary), Dharamjeet Kaur (chairperson) and Krishna Kumari (vice president of the union) was flagged off By Dr Hemlata, all-India secretary of the All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH), Raghunath Singh (all-India vice president, CITU) and Vijay Misra (state president, CITU).


After floral tributes were paid to the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, an impressive public meeting was held in the premises of this historic place. Apart from the leaders of the jatha march, Dr Hemlata, Raghunath Singh and Vijay Misra also addressed this public meeting. Dr Hemlata greeted the jatha and congratulated the state committee of the Anganwadi Mulazim Union Punjab for organising a month long jatha march from November 7 to December 3.


This public meeting was attended by over five hundred Anganwadi workers and helpers, apart from workers of various fraternal organisations like ASHA Workers Union and the CITU affiliated unions of industrial workers and transport workers.


After the public meeting a militant procession was taken out in the city with the beating of drums and with resounding slogans.


The jatha march was given a warm welcome by hundreds of Anganwadi workers, helpers and workers of various mass organisations under the leadership of Mrs Rajwant Kaur and Sukhminder Kaur, president and general secretary respectively of the Amritsar district unit of AMUP. Then the jatha march was greeted at the entrance gate of Majeetha town by over three hundred Anganwadi workers and helpers of the Majeetha block in Amritsar district. The well organised public meeting was attended by beneficiaries too, apart from Anganwadi workers and helpers. Addressing the public meeting, Dr Hemlata said the decision   of the UPA government at the centre to convert the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) into an ICDS Mission is a conspiracy to privatise the ICDS and hand it over to NGOs. She urged upon the AMUP members to mobilise the Anganwadi workers, helpers and beneficiaries in large numbers in order to defeat this anti-people and anti-working class decision of the UPA government. She further added that, with cooperation from all likeminded organisations, the AIFAWH would not allow the government to play with the life of crores of children and women who are supplied nutrition through Anganwadi centres. Dr Hemlata demanded that the ICDS must be converted into a government department under the Ministry of Human Resources Development and that the government must grant the status of government employees to Anganwadi workers and helpers. The oublic meeting was also addressed by Raghunath Singh and the leaders of the jatha march.


On November 8, the jatha was received at the entrance gate of the Rayya town in Amritsar district by over 400 Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers, workers and leaders of various CITU affiliated unions and government employees’ unions. The jatha was taken to the venue of the public meeting in a procession with the beating of drum, and the leaders of the jatha march were garlanded by leaders of the block unit of AMUP. The jatha got unprecedented support and response at Taran Tarn where about 700 Anganwadi workers and helpers, under the leadership of Mrs Anup Kaur, Joginder Kaur and Beant Kaur, president, general secretary and secretary of the Taran Taran distruict unit of the union, greeted the jatha. The jatha march was also greeted by Davinderjit Singh Dhillon, a state level leader of Punjab Kisan Sabha, and district CITU leaders Sucha Singh Ajnala and Sukhdev Singh Golwarh. After the public rally, a militant procession shouting slogans for saving the ICDS and saving children from malnutrition was taken out through the town. Never before was such a militant procession of working women seen by the people of the town.


On November 9, the jatha march reached Dera Baba Nanak where over 300 Anganwadi workers and helpers greeted and welcomed the jatha march by garlanding its leaders. It was followed by a public rally which was addressed by leaders of the jatha. At 2.00 p m the jatha march reach village Nadala where over 200 Anganwadi workers and helpers received it at the entrance gate of the village and held an impressive rally there.


On November 10, the jatha was given a warm welcome in Kapurthala city where about 450 Anganwadi workers took the jatha march in a procession to the venue of the public meeting. At 2.00 p m the jatha marched to the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall of Jallandhar where a well decorated vehicle which carries banners bearing slogans of the jatha march and photographs of the rallies, demonstration and police repression on peaceful agitations and movements of Anganwadi workers and helpers. Then a public rally was held in the premises of the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall which was addressed by Raghunath Singh (general secretary of the CITU’s Punjab state unit), by leaders of the jatha march and by Jallandhar district AMUP president Balvir Kaur and its general secretary Chamano Devi.


On November 11, the jatha got tremendous response in Noormehal town where over 700 Anganwadi workers, helpers and workers of various mass organisations greeted and welcomed it with resounding slogans. They then took out a militant procession that caught the attention of every passer-by. Then a big rally was held in Noormehal Inn; it was addressed by leaders of the jatha and of fraternal organisations.


At 2.00 p m a well planned and colourful rally and demonstration were organised in Philour block of district Jallandhar. Over 500 Anganwadi workers and helpers participated in the procession and the public rally. The whole venue of public meeting had been well decorated with the CITU flags and banners of Anganwadi Mulazim Union. The jatha was greeted by the leaders and workers of AMU Punjab.


From Philour, the jatha march left for district Hoshiarpur on November 12.


The jatha will reach Khatkar Kalan, the home village of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, on December 3.