Srinagar : After the BJP government put paid to the constitutional autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir and split it into two union territories--Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh on August 5, 2019, the government has implemented a flurry of arbitrary orders in the region. While these orders have undermined the democratic rights of the people, they have significantly contributed to the chasm between New Delhi and the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Barring the Anganwari Workers and Helpers working under Integrated Child Development Services ( ICDS)—the central government's flagship programme for early childhood care and development—from protesting in favor of their genuine demands is a new addition to a long list of orders issued by the government in the wake of abrogation of article 370.
The government in its order issued a few days ago has strictly restricted the under paid Anganwari workers and helpers from staging protests in favor of their genuine demands.
Hundreds of Anganwari Workers and Helpers working in Jammu and Kashmir are without wages over the past several months, spurring them to hit the streets. The better wages and working conditions are among their other core demands.
Most of these workers come from lower economic strata of the society and play a major role in implementing various government schemes on the grass roots levels.
During the ongoing pandemic, the Anganwari workers and helpers worked alongside other frontline workers to stave -off the transmission of deadly COVID-19, which devoured more than 5 lakh people across India. Eveen many of these workers contracted the disease and transmitted it to their families while discharging their duties.
Over the past several decades, the Anganwari workers and helpers have emerged as a strong force among the country’s workforce in an unorganized sector. However, apart from working on paltry honorarium, these workers are also deprived of social security and retirement benefits.
The recent order to prevent them from holding peaceful protests in favor of their demands is an utter violation of their constitutional right to protest under article 19. The undemocratic order is an attempt to undermine their right to form association and collective action. After August 5, 2019, the government has been issuing such arbitrary orders with no respect for the constitution or the aspirations of the people. These orders not only snatch the constitutional rights of the people but also push them further to the wall.
Barring the Anaganwari workers to raise their voice for their genuine demands speaks volumes about the authoritarian tendencies of the current dispensation.