The police carried away Anganwadi worker Shashi Thapa to the Government Doon Medical College (GDMC) hospital on the fourth day of her protest fast unto death on Monday. Earlier, on Sunday, the police had taken away another hunger striker Savita Sharma to the GDMC hospital.
In the meantime, two other Anganwadi workers Neelam Paliwal and Manorama Nautiyal have started a fast unto death in support of the demands of the Anganwadi workers. Paliwal has been experiencing high blood pressure since Sunday, said the Anganwadi workers association president Rekha Negi.
Talking about the claims of the State minister for Women and Child Development, Rekha Arya that government had initiated talks with the protesting Anganwadi workers, Negi said that the Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had never called them personally to meet him. “We met him only through our rally and even then he said that he would meet us after the Vidhan Sabha session but the meeting hasn’t happened yet. Why did they not call us after that? Are we so irrelevant?We have at least six working hours but minister Rekha Arya is saying that we work just for three hours. Also about being the only state to pay the highest allowance in the country, the geography of our region is different than other States and cannot be compared with the states like Uttar Pradesh or others. This means our struggle is different than the Anganwadi workers in other states.” She also added that there is no political agenda behind our protest. “There is no one from any particular political party involved in our protest. We are protesting for our rights and not against the current Government. We have also protested and been on hunger strike for fifty two days at the time when the then Chief Minister Harish Rawat was heading a Congress government in the state.
At that time, our protest had led to the increment of Rs 1,000 in our allowance. We also told the current government that if they will increase our allowances, we will take out a victory rally in honour of the BJP government,” said Negi.
As per the other Anganwadi workers, they will keep fighting for their rights and will not budge from their protest until the government changes its attitude and responds to them. It is pertinent to mention here that Anganwadi workers have been protesting for more than a month now in support of their demands.
The workers are demanding payment at par with the Anganwadi workers of Delhi and Haryana and benefit of Provident Fund (PF) and medical reimbursement as provided to state government employees.