International Women’s Day Reports

Uttar Pradesh: International Women’s Day was observed across Uttar Pradesh. At Lucknow, AIPWA organized a march from Bakshi ka Talaab (BKT) to the Collector’s office at Indora Bagh. The march reverberated with slogans against terrorism, warmongering, and the politics of hate and divisiveness. The march which culminated in a meeting at Indora Tehsil HQ was led by AIPWA District Convener Meena and Joint Convener Kamla Gautam.

The speakers who addressed the meeting said that on the one hand the Modi government raises slogans of saving daughters, while on the other hand they are bent on creating a warmongering environment which will lead to nothing but darkness and destruction in women’s lives. They said that war and terrorism are equal to festering wounds in the lives of women. We want not war, but peace. They pointed out that the Modi government is spending 56% of the women’s budget on its own propaganda and advertisement. Under the Modi Raj, issues of women’s safety, ration-kerosene, and women’s pension loom large but are not addressed. Women are being harassed in the name of toilets and even in this matter they are forced to pay bribes. How can toilets be constructed in Rs 8000-12,000? The meeting demanded a probe into the corruption in toilet construction, and also demanded Rs 50,000 to be fixed as cost per toilet construction. A large number of women participated in the march, including Kamlesh Kumari, Malti, Shanti, Kamla, Mansura, Sarla JI, Gita, Priyanka and others.

Earlier on 7 March, the evening before IWD, AIPWA, AIDWA, Women’s Federation and AISA organized a joint march at Lucknow from Parivartan Chowk to GPO Chowk and held a dharna near the Gandhi Statue.

A rally and meeting led by AIPWA was organized at Lakhimpur Kheeri in Uttar Pradesh on 8 March on the occasion of International Women’s Day. The rally resounded with women raising the slogan, “We want peace, not war! No more Pulwamas!’ The meeting was addressed by State AIPWA President Krishna Adhikari, Vice President Arati Rai, Savitri and Mala.

At Sitapur, women led by AIPWA District President Sarojini organized a dharna at Vikas Bhavan near the Collector’s office. Sarojini said that the Modi government raises the slogan of ‘Beti Padhao Beti Bachao’ (Educate daughters, Save daughters), but the heinous rapes and defence of rapists at Kathua and Unnao and the appalling crimes shielded by the ruling powers at girls’ shelter homes in Muzaffarpur and Devariya took place under this government. She said that the steep rise in LPG prices has forced women back to cooking in smoke-filled chulhas. Lakhs of Rasoiyas have been pushed out of the scheme by fixing the age of 40 for registration of Rasoiyas. This government has done great injustices to women. Neither women nor the country is safe under the Modi government. The ‘jumlebaaz’ Modi government has done nothing in its tenure but throw out ‘jumlas’ to the people, who are now eagerly waiting to see this government thrown out. Villages everywhere are echoing with the call for ‘Oust BJP!’ 8 March was observed as Women’s day at village Gayaghat in Chakiya (Chandauli).

Rajasthan: An AIPWA District conference was organized at Jaipur on March 8 2019 with an appeal on IWD for peace, not war. Addressing the conference, CPI (ML) CC member and AIPWA State Secretary Com. Sudha Chaudhary said that the BJP government had made many promises to women but in the last five years it has shown nothing but its anti-woman face. Through the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ slogan they claim that women are safe under their rule. But in reality, incidents of rape have increased manifold and the complicity of BJP leaders has come to light in many of these cases. She pointed out that the BJP is trying to win the coming elections by creating Hindu-Muslim hatred and clashes in the name of martyred soldiers. She appealed to the people to defeat this evil purpose by throwing out the BJP government.
The conference elected a new District committee, with Com. Parveen Bano (President), Com. Manjulata (Secretary), and Com. Deepa Mehra (Joint Secretary). Newly elected District Secretary Manjulata said that AIPWA will go to the people in the coming Lok Sabha elections with like employment for youth and women’s rights and will conduct a strong campaign to defeat the BJP.

Chhattisgarh: The women of Ward No. 24, Bhairav Basti, Camp-2 (Bhilai, Chhattisgarh) led by AIPWA and CPI(ML) organized a one-day dharna protest in front of the Municipal Corporation on 8 March on the issues of drinking water, sanitation, and pond-cleaning. A memorandum was submitted to the Municipal Commissioner.

Despite prior notice having been given by AIPWA to the Municipal Corporation, no responsible officer was present to accept the memorandum. This enraged the women, who gave a good piece of their mind to Revenue Officer Motilal Sharma via whom they submitted the memorandum to the Commissioner. The memorandum stated that the residents of Ward No. 24 Bhairav Basti have been struggling with the problem of drinking water for the last 2 ½ years. The pond is full of garbage; sump-wells are non-functional; rich and influential people siphon off water from lower level Municipal taps using motors. Many women living in the Ward are sanitation workers, and others depend on daily wages for their livelihood, and the problem of drinking water has become a grave crisis.

The memorandum gave a clear warning to the Municipal Corporation that if the problem is not solved within a week, the Ward residents would sharpen their agitation and the Municipal Corporation would be responsible for consequences.
AIPWA leaders addressing the dharna said that the government makes a hypocritical show of respecting women but deprives them of their legitimate rights. Feudal and fascist governments do not want women to have equal rights.

Mahila Adhikar Sangharsh Yatra in Jharkhand

On 8 March 2019 women gathered near the Labour Welfare Department in Jhumritilaiyya. The women’s rights Yatra (Mahila Adhikar Yatra) started from there with a massive rally under the AIPWA banner. The Yatra proceeded via Ranchi-Patna Road, Jhanda Chowk, Over-bridge, and Jawahar Talkies to reach Maharana Pratap Chowk where Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar’s statue was garlanded and a pledge was taken to save democracy and the Constitution. A meeting was then held at the Kalamandir in Belatand (Salaiyya). Addressing the meeting, AIPWA State Secretary Com. Geeta Mandal declared that the Mahila Adhikar Yatra would be organized across the entire Koderma Lok Sabha constituency and expose the falsehoods and jumlas of the Central and State BJP governments. She said that women in Jharkhand are being horribly oppressed by the BJP government. Women scheme workers are being made to work without being paid. She called upon the voters in the constituency to throw out the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

On 9 March the Mahila Sangharsh Yatra traversed through Koderma Lok Sabha constituency, reaching Chainpur, Domchanch, Neeche Tola, Pipradih (Jainagar Block), Chopnadih (Markachho Block) and Chalkusha Chaube Bazaar. After a night halt at Chatkari, the Yatra proceeded to Sariya Bazaar via Barkanganga, Pachapheri, Kafka Chowk, Atka, and Bagodar Muslim Tola on 10 March. A meeting was organized at Bagha Chowk addressed by AIPWA National Vice President Com. Saroj Choube and others. On 11 March the Yatra proceeded through Khairon, Sakhuvadih, and Fekrapahari to reach Jamua where a meeting was organized at Jamua Chowk. On 12 March the Yatra reached Gandeya Bazaar and Bengabad where a meeting was held. After a night halt at Mandaro Gram, a meeting was held on 13 March at Mandaro afer which the Yatra reached Tisri, Pihara and Gawan in Rajdhanwar Assembly constituency. On 14 March a mass meeting was held at Rajdhanwar addressed by CPI (ML) MLA Com. Rajkumar Yadav and others.

At Garhwa, a march was organized on 8 March from the Girls’ High School grounds via the Main Road and Sadar Hospital to Indira Gandhi Park (Ranka Road). Women participating in the march carried flags and banners and raised slogans demanding equality and rights.

Addressing the meeting at Ranka Chowk, Com. Sushma Mehta said that today women are unsafe all over the country. They are the victims of rape, murder and sexual harassment, and their working wages are being looted. The meeting, presided over by Sheela Kushwaha, was attended by women in large numbers. The Mahila Yatra at Bengabad in Giridih attacked the BJP government’s anti-women policies and increasing violence against women, AIPWA leaders said that the time has come to give a befitting reply to the BJP government which protects rapists and insults women. Another meeting was also held at the Block HQs, where the Block level AIPWA committee was formed.

The march from the Palamu District school grounds to the court complex was organized under the joint banners of the Jharkhand Rajya Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sangh, AIPWA, Society for Labour and Development, and the Mahila Adhikar Sangharsh Samiti.  

AIPWA led a protest march against the Modi-Raghuvar governments at Albert Ekka Chowk in Ranchi. The march resounded with slogans for women’s rights, against warmongering and communal violence and divisive politics. The meeting was addressed by comrades Shanti Sen, Noureen Akhtar and other AIPWA leaders. A protest march led by Lakhimani Munda was organized at Bundu in Ranchi District. Protest marches and meetings were also held at Ramgarh, Gomiya, and Nirsa coal belt in Dhanbad District.

The protest at Ramgarh was led by District Secretary Com. Nita Bediya, President Com. Kanti Devi, Vice President Com. Jhuma Ghosal, Com. Dhanmati Devi and others. Addressing the large number of women participating in the march, the leaders said that the time has come for women to fight for decisively for equality and rights and to throw out the governments which have betrayed and oppressed them.