Working women across the country took to the streets and courted arrest on March 6. Image courtesy - Facebook.
New Delhi: On International Women’s Day – March 8 – this year, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reportedly be giving up his Twitter account to women whose life and work “inspire”, many women workers would still be longing for one thing: recognition of their work.
Demanding the same, working women across the country took to the streets and courted arrest on March 6 in a ‘Jail Bharo’ campaign. Thousands of them, which saw participation of women from various sectors including Anganwadi, ASHA, mid-day meal workers, among others, staged demonstrations across the country.
Led by Centre of Indian Trade Union’s (CITU) All India Coordination Committee of Working Women, the protesting workers also sent memoranda to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ministers of Labour and Women and Child Development ministries, a statement by CITU read.
The protest by the women workers, staged ahead of International Women’s Day, was witnessed in almost all the states.
In Haryana, according to the statement, around 20,000 women workers courted arrest in 22 districts. In Tamil Nadu, all the 23 districts observed campaigns led by the women. Mine workers participated in large numbers in Jharkhand.
Bihar and West Bengal, where Assembly elections are due later this year in and next year, respectively, were much in focus during the ‘Jail Bhar’ protest by women workers.
Programmes were held in 15 districts of Bihar, while in West Bengal around 2,500 women workers were arrested by the state police and were released later, said the statement.
Out of all the states, Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Modi, however stood out, where the state government allegedly resorted to “severe repression” to stop the programme. According to the statement, leaders of the Anganwadi union there were taken under house arrest a day earlier, while those women workers who assembled at Ahmedabad, numbering more than 2,000, were arrested and taken into custody on the day of protest.
Across the country, women workers demanded equal wages for equal work for women in all sectors. They also demanded to ensure that effective measures are taken to prevent violence against women in the country. The women workers also demanded to withdrawal of the "discriminatory", "divisive" and "anti-constitutional" amendment to Citizenship Act and the National Population Register and National Register of Citizens exercises.
CITU claimed the “massive response” to the call for ‘jail bharo’ reflected the anger of women workers against the “anti-people economic and the divisive agenda of the RSS-led BJP government.”