Anganwadi workers clash at Dharna Chowk in Hyderabad

It appeared like a war zone. Police stopped buses plying in that area and also diverted all vehicular traffic to Indira Park.Target was to stop Anganwadi workers from gathering there.

The women from villages and district towns dared the lathi of police and jostled with the women police and home guards when they were stopped from entering the Dharna Chowk (Indira Park) in Hyderabad this morning. Despite police obstructions at several places, heavy crowd gathered at the lower tank bund area of Domalguda.

Anganawadi workers flooded the roads between Indira Park and Ashok Nagar which brought traffic to a standstill. The roads were jam-packed with the traffic police struggling to take control of the situation. Railway stations and bus stands were filled with anganwadi women from across the state. Many came with their little children and some even with their infants in arms.

Thousands of Anganwadi workers from different parts of the state took to the streets in Hyderabad and staged a dharna. Carrying their luggage on their back, and a flag in their hands they walked from JBS and  MGBS  to Indira Park. For a change, even the morning walkers were taken aback at the police concentration. Metal shields, barged wire and  police vans, home guards, and mufti police gathered in large numbers on all sides of the Dharna chowk to stall the action plan of the Anganwadi workers.

Police stopped them where ever they  were found  at  Sundaraiah Kendra, Gandhi nagar. The Anganwadi workers who number about  87,000 all over  state staged Chalo Hyderabad in support of their demand for hike in salaries and pensions on par with government employees
“In fact we do more work and more hours than any government employee and get paid only one fourth of their take home,” lamented  Sundarakka, an angawadi workers association leader from Khammam.

The CITU had thrown its support with Anganwadi workers and police stopped them  with lathis when they wanted to proceed towards Raj Bhavan and Secretariat to present their memorandums to Chief Minister KCR. The police arrested several employees and took them into custody. The  agitators  continued their struggle even in Gandhinagar police station and raised slogans.

Following reports of  clash of anganwadi workers with the police, several TDP , CPM, Lok satta, MRPS and CPI leaders rushed to the dharna camp to express their solidarity with them. Many political parties organised drinking water for the agitating Anganawadi workers at the Dharna chowk.

Meanwhile the vendors and hawkers of food items were doing a roaring business with a captive customer base of thousands at Indira park. Lemon rice, curd rice, poori, and Pulihara packets were sold for Rs.20-25 each and water sachets were sold for Rs. five each at the Indira Park, a hike of over 50% than regular rates.

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