Srinagar: Around two dozen Anganwadi workers on Monday went on hunger strike against the state government to press for an increase in salary.
The hunger-strike decision was taken by senior workers soon after hundreds of Anganwadi staff from various areas of Kashmir division thronged Pratab Park here in Srinagar and staged a sit-in protest. The protesters raised slogans like: ’10,000 lagu kro, insaaf chahyiea’ and ‘Sada haq aethay rakh’.
Tasleema Subhan, the state president of the Anganwadi Workers Association, accused the state government of adopting a step-motherly approach towards the workers, despite their working with full efficiency. “The minister concerned does not pay any heed towards our issues, and we have decided to hold an indefinite hunger strike till our demands are met,” she said.
Another protester, Haseena Begum, said that she has been serving as an Anganwari worker for over four decades and has even received several government awards for her work. “In all these 40 years, I haven’t seen the government doing anything for us. Today, I want to tell every worker who either is at home or present here in the protest that I will sacrifice my life for the betterment of the workers,” she said.
Begum asserted that Anganwari workers were not getting their wages as per the work they do. She said that the workers had been carried out duties in every field in the state. “From election duty to Adhaar card service, we have been serving from the front. I want to ask the government why it is not giving us genuine wages.”
The protesters also took a jibe at Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufi for her statements on women’s empowerment. “She often says that she wants to empower women. Today we ask her, does Rs 20 a day empower a woman to empower herself,” a newly appointed worker said.
Another senior protester said that there were many single mothers serving in the department and they have a huge responsibility to raise and educate their children. “At least Rs 100 is spent on transport. I appeal to the government to look at the increasing prices ever since the GST was introduced in the Valley. They do need to fully address our concerns; do they think a single mother can raise and educate children on a mere Rs 3,600?” she said.