Anganwari workers stage protest, block road at Dogra Chowk

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, May 23: Anganwari workers and helpers who have been on a strike for over three months in support of their demands which include release of their salaries and a hike in honorarium, today staged a dharna at Dogra Chowk.
Under the banner of All J&K Anganwari Workers and Helpers’ Union (AWHU), hundreds of Anganwari workers and helpers drawn from various districts of Jammu province, this morning assembled near Press Club from where amid shouting of slogans against the Jammu and Kashmir Government and ruling alliance partners BJP and PDP, they marched towards Dogra Chowk where they staged a sit-in protest and disrupted vehicular traffic for around one hour.
Addressing the protesting workers, Suman Suri, president, AWHU, said that the Mission ICDS has become the biggest tool of gender discrimination and exploitation of women work force in post independence period. She alleged that Anganwari workers and helpers are being treated as bonded labourers in J&K.
“We are made to perform a host of duties like that of a health worker, pre-school teacher, doing surveys and making preparation of list of beneficiaries from 0 to 6 years children and lactating as well as pregnant women, immunization, referral services, etc but in turn a meager amount of Rs 3600 and Rs 1800 per month is being paid to Anganwari workers and helpers, respectively”, Suri said.
She said that ICDS Mission has become a tool of violation of human rights of women workers, who are worst victims of this State sponsored exploitation for past about 43 years. She requested all social organizations, NGOs and others working in the field of women emancipation to come forward in their support. She warned to intensify the protest if their demands were not met.
Meanwhile, a protest by Anganwari workers and helpers was also held in Billawar constituency of Kathua district. The protest was also joined by Advocate Pankaj Basotra, member, Pradesh Congress Committee and State general secretary of Pradesh Youth Congress. While addressing the protesters, Basotra said it is very shameful that no one from the Government side is hearing their genuine issues of Anganwari workers and helpers in Jammu and instead they are busy in framing the rehabilitation policy for anti nationalists.