Anganwadi workers stage protest against pre-primary classes in Punjab

The protest turned violent in Ludhiana when hundreds of workers, who assembled outside the deputy commissioner’s office, tried to enter the building.

punjab Updated: Nov 15, 2017 22:43 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar/Ludhiana
Anganwadi workers,Punjab news,Punjab Anganwadi workers
Anganwadi workers protesting outside the deputy commissioner’s office in Ludhiana on Wednesday.(Gurminder Singh/HT)

Up in arms against pre-primary classes started in state-run schools, Punjab Anganwadi workers and helpers held demonstrations in several districts of the state to register their strong protest against the government move.

The protesters, who fear losing their jobs after purported merging of Anganwadi centres with schools, gathered in large numbers at district headquarters to demanded immediate rollback of the decision to run pre-primary classes in 12,500-odd government schools for children in the age group of three to six years. The school education department has already enrolled 1.5 lakh children and the drive will continue till November 30.

The protest turned violent in Ludhiana when hundreds of workers, who assembled outside the deputy commissioner’s office in the mini-secretariat at 11 am, tried to enter the building. As the policewomen tried to stop them, the protesters could be seen jostling with them and pulling their hair. A few of them were also beaten up.

Members of Anganwadi Mulazam Union (CITU) protesting in Jalandhar against the Punjab govt’s move of introducing pre-primary classes in the state. (Pardeep Pandit/HT)

When the situation went out of hand, deputy commissioner Pradeep Aggarwal allowed five of their representatives to meet him. He also fixed their meeting with special chief secretary, social security and development of women and children, Karan Bir Singh Sidhu, on November 17.

Punjab Anganwadi Mulazam Union general secretary Subhash Rani said the protest will continue till the demands are met.

In Jalandhar, the Anganwadi Workers Union (AWU) on Wednesday held a protest rally from Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall to district administration complex. Jasvir Kaur, district president of the workers union, said the protest was held to give an ultimatum to the administration and the state government. “If our jobs are not secured, we will start a ‘Jail Bharo Andolan’ in all districts,” she said, accusing the state government of being “indifferent”. Protests were also held in Patiala and Sangrur.

The state has 26,833 Anganwadi Centres with about 54,000 women workers and helpers.

First Published: Nov 15, 2017 22:39 IST