Patna: Hundreds of Panchayat Ward Secretaries, including a large number of women, on Thursday took to the streets in Patna demanding proper honorarium and job regularisation. But the Bihar police baton-charged the protestors, injuring nearly a dozen of them.
Shouting slogans, the Panchayat Ward Secretaries protested against the Nitish Kumar-led National Democratic Alliance government near the Gandhi Maidan area in Patna demanding the payment of proper honorarium to them. They wanted to march to the state assembly to draw the attention of the government to their issues as the monsoon session of the assembly is underway. But on their way to the assembly, the protestors were forcibly stopped by the police leading to clashes between them.
The police first used water cannons to disperse protesting Panchayat Ward Secretaries followed by baton charges. "A dozen of protesting Panchayat Ward Secretaries were injured in police action for demanding our rights of payment of honorarium,” said Anil Kumar, a leader of Panchayat Ward Sachiv Sangh.
The Sangh leader said the police attacked protesting Panchayat Ward Secretaries as if they were criminals and creating law and order problems. “We were simply staging a protest demanding payment of adequate honorarium,” another leader said.
There are 1,14,691 Panchayat Ward Secretaries in Bihar who have been working on the ground in rural areas across the state. They supervise the implementation of different development schemes of the government.
According to the Sangh leaders, the Panchayat Ward Secretaries have been working for the implementation of the Nal Jal Yojna and Saat Nischay scheme; both are dream projects of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. However, they are not given an honorarium and are paid poorly, they said.
After police action against the peaceful protest, the Sangh leaders threatened to launch another agitation soon for their genuine demands. “We are not only monitoring the implementation of different government schemes at the Panchayat level, but also reaching out to the beneficiaries,” they said.
The Opposition Mahagathbandhan including Left parties have raised the incident of police action against the workers in the ongoing state assembly session and demanded the government to fulfil the protestor’s demands.