Jul 27, 2015

3rd Day of Indefinite Hunger Strike of Aanganwadi Workers

Condition of hunger strikers becomes serious; Kejriwal Government at its callous best, Kejriwal refuses to listen to striking workers
Lt. Gov. Najeeb Jung gives appointment to striking workers of Aanganbadi to resolve the issue.

July 25, Delhi. The struggle of Aanganbadi women workers entered its 19th day today and their indefinite hunger strike entered its 3rd day. Condition of one of the strikers, Sunita Pundir, has become critical. Other strikers also are in serious condition. Meanwhile, a delegation of Aanganwadi workers tried to meet Arvind Kejriwal on July 24 in Babarpur, where he was present to attend to ceremony. However, AAP volunteers manhandled the Aanganwadi workers and tried to drive them away. All of this happened in front of Arvind Kejriwal. AAP volunteers said that if you are not getting wages, why don't you do some other work! Showing the height of insensitivity, Arvind Kejriwal did not even talk to them.

Despite this attitude of Arvind Kejriwal's AAP government, the strength of the struggling workers is growing with every passing day. They are staging a round-the-clock sit-in protest at Civil Lines. The number of Aanganbadi workers present during the day is increasing and has already reached near 700. Tomorrow, the striking workers have called for a grand mobilization at the strike venue, that is, outside the house of CM Kejriwal. Kejriwal government on the one hand is attacking the Police administration and on the other, it is using Police force to break the indefinite hunger strike. A group of police personnel came to the strike venue on the night of 24th July and forced the strikers to remove a small piece of tent which was being used to cover the heads of the hunger strikers. The real intent was to take them into custody. However, Police failed to do so. Frustrated by this failure, Kejriwal Government has ordered the police not to allow the strikers to use any piece of tent to cover themselves even during rain. However, this backdoor arm-twisting also did not work. On 25th July, the co-workers of the strikers stood their holding the tent in their hands to protest the hunger strikers from rain. Finally the Police gave in and allowed to put the tent during the rain. Apparently, the Kejriwal government is using every trick in the trade to break the indefinite hunger strike.
Meanwhile, the Delhi State Aanganbadi Workers and Helpers Union, that is leading the struggle, wrote to the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court and also went to meet Lt. Gov. Najeeb Jung. Mr. Jung has invited a delegation of Aanganbadi workers to meet on Monday morning. The workers are also considering to file a case against the Kejriwal government. It is noteworthy that the workers have

not been paid their honorarium (earned wages) for last 8-9 months. A number of these women workers are the sole breadwinners in the family and they are facing the prospects of starvation. In effect, the Kejriwal government is denying them the right to live and is shamelessly spending Rs. 526 crore on ridiculous advertisements of its failed governance. The Union leadership said that the struggle is going strong and Kejriwal will have to pay the political price for its misdeeds against the working class of Delhi. He has proved to be a "dalaal" of the capitalists and wealthy merchants of Delhi. He came into politics shouting about clean politics, corruption-free politics, ethics and morality and now 21 of his MLAs are facing criminal charges and 2 of them have just got bail! This shows the true colors of AAP's politics and also exposes its betrayal of the common working people of Delhi. Union leadership told that the leading committee of the Union has decided to boycott every activity of AAP and its government even after the ongoing struggle. Aanganwadi workers have prepared a resolution to boycott AAP government in the coming MCD elections. Radha, an Aanganwadi worker, argued, "It is necessary to teach a lesson to these political clowns."

Shivani Kaul
Delhi State Aanganwadi Workers and Helpers Union

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