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Haryana: Farmers, Students to Join Striking Anganwadi Workers

Ronak Chhabra |
The all-women workforce’s union are eyeing a 'joint mahapanchayat' in the days to come; a meeting, in this regard, will be convened on March 10 in Rohtak.
Haryana: Farmers, Students to Join Striking Anganwadi Workers

Image Courtesy - CITU Haryana/Facebook.

New Delhi: As their statewide strike action enters its third month, the agitating Anganwadi workers and helpers in Haryana now plan to hold joint programmes with farmers, students, and other women’s organisations in the state. 

A meeting, in this regard, has been scheduled for earlier this month in which a “future course of action to intensify the struggle” will be decided, Newsclick has learnt on Monday.

The all-women workforce, led by the CITU-backed Haryana Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (HAWHU) and AIUTUC-backed Anganwadi Karyakarta Sahayika Union (AKSU), have been on strike since December 8. Among their major demands is an increase in their monthly honorarium; the increment was promised to them by the central government in 2018. 

The caregivers would now plan for a “joint mahapanchayat” with the support from farmers, students, and women in the state, Shakuntala, president of HAWHU, told Newsclick in a telephone interview on Monday. “These sections have already extended solidarity to our strike, but now we will plan for joint mobilisation in the days to come,” she said. “We will decide about it in more detail in Rohtak, where we are meeting on March 10. We have invited several groups, including the SKM (Samyukt Kisan Morcha),” Shakuntala added.

SKM is the umbrella group of farmers from across the country that spearheaded the sit-in protest by cultivators at the borders of the national capital earlier last year, which eventually forced the Narendra Modi-led central government to withdraw three of its reform-oriented farm legislations.

In Haryana, the state constituent of SKM had been at the forefront of the agitation against the coalition government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) in the State for their support to the contentious agriculture reforms.

Inderjit Singh of the Haryana unit of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) confirmed that a delegation of SKM will participate in the meeting in Rohtak. “Let’s not forget that the farmers’ protest was not just against the three farm laws, but it was also staged to protect democracy,” he said.

The Manohar Lal Khattar-led Haryana government has been “punishing the women for protesting,” Singh claimed. Earlier last week, hundreds of Anganwadi caregivers were detained, while at least one of the union member was hospitalised, as the women’s foot march was prevented by the state police from reaching Chandigarh ahead of a proposed protest outside the State Assembly.

Newsclick also reported earlier on how, till recently, over 300 striking workers and helpers from across numerous districts in Haryana had been terminated from work. The unions see this as a “punishment” for going on strike.

“All this is why the farmers will now come together and will give their full support to the women in their struggle,” Singh of AIKS added on Monday.

Meanwhile, the two striking unions of the Anganwadi workers and helpers have given a call to demonstrate at district headquarters across the state on March 8, International Women’s Day. “We are preparing for large mobilisations at every protest spot,” Shakuntala of HAWHU said.

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