Bhubaneswar, Feb 7:
Agitating Anganwadi workers fought a pitched battle with the police at the Lower PMG here on Friday. While the police used water cannons and lobbed tear gas shells on the Anganwadi workers in an effort to prevent them marching towards the Assembly, the undeterred Anganwadi workers pressed ahead pelting stones on the men in khaki all the way.
The Anganwadi workers, who came in a rally demanding fulfilment of their long standing nine-point of charter of demands, were stopped by the police as they tried to scale the double barricades put up in front of the Assembly. Police had to use powerful water cannons and fire teargas shells to disperse the agitating Anganwadi workers to which they responded by heavy stone pelting at the policemen on duty.
Dozens of Aganwadi workers fell unconscious while the police charged them with tear gas shells. Hundreds of Anganwadi workers have been arrested.
Three Anganwadi workers, who were badly hurt in the clash with the police, have been shifted to Capital Hospital for treatment.
Anganwadi workers are demanding a minimum wage of Rs. 12,000 per month or to be declared as government servants, Rs 3000 as pension after retirement, government aid and other social security benefits.
“More than 7000 members from across the state were here today demanding fulfilment of our nine-point of charter of demands,” said Anjali Patel, State general secretary (GS) of AOALWA.
“The police may arrest us, but they cannot stop our agitation. The state government cannot stop us from getting our long-standing demands by using police force,” Patel said.
“If the demands are not met, we will continue to agitate at the block and panchayat level in the State as well as put a halt to the state government’s programmes and services like census, economic survey, animal survey, election duty as booth level officer, BPL survey with PLO survey and Pulse Polio duty,” she added.