IWD 2017 Demonstrations
Pricol workers in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu observed IWD 2017 as an occasion to reaffirm ten years of their struggle. On this occasion, AIPWA Secretary Kavita Krishnan felicitated six of the recently-acquitted Pricol workers, who declared their intention to hand over their earnings through jail labour as well as increased Diwali bonuses to the fund for freeing the two Pricol workers who are still in jail. Pricol’s women workers as well as women from the workers’ families remembered their struggles of the past ten years. Kavita Krishnan spoke about the significance of IWD and the need to fight battles both at the point of production (the factory) as well as the point of social reproduction (the communities and areas where workers live). AICCTU National President S Kumarasamy also spoke on the occasion.
In Delhi, AIDWA, AIPWA, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, NFIW, RAHI foundation, Saheli, Jagori, Nari Shakti Manch, National Alliance of People’s Movements and other groups participated in an International Women’s day march from Rajiv Chowk, culminating in a public meeting at Jantar Mantar. Slogans of “women want azaadi- from moral policing, from patriarchy, Manuvad, inequality, exploitation, from violence and sexual harassment” and “Down with anti-women and anti-labour laws” could be heard. Shivani Nag addressed the meeting on behalf of AIPWA. Speakers from various organisations emphasized on the need to strengthen women’s movement against the fascist powers. Activists from various organizations sang songs of protest and a group also performed a street play on women’s issues.
In Bihar, AIPWA held a public meeting in Patna on 7 March on the theme of education, safety and dignity for girls, raising these concerns in the light of several instances of violence against girls in schools including the murder of Dika Kumari, and the rape of a minor girl student in a Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Samastipur. AIPWA demanded that the government must ensure quality and accessible education for all girls and that educational campuses be made free of fear. AIPWA observed 8 March as ‘Sankalp Diwas’ (Resolve Day) all over Bihar with programmes in several villages and localities where participants resolved to strengthen the struggles for right to education for girls and to resist increasing attacks on women and especially girl students. Women also organized marches carrying banners condemning attacks on education, safety and freedom of girls.
A massive march was organized by AIPWA in Sariya (Giridih, Jharkhand) against the increasing attacks on women’s freedom, safety and rights under the Modi-Raghuvar governments at the centre and the state. In Ranchi, AIPWA organized a meeting of AIPWA activists on the 107th International Women’s day and also to observe the 100th year of the Russian Revolution. The activists recalled the historic significance of 8 March 1917, remembering the historical women’s strike in Russia for Peace, Land, Bread. Drawing inspiration from the historic struggles, the activists resolved to mobilise and organize women against increasing attacks on women and against the anti-democracy fascist rule. A march was also taken out against violence on women, against rape of girl students in Ranchi, Deoghar, Garhwa and against patriarchy at Firayalal Chowk. International women's day programmes were also organised by AIPWA in Rajavommangi in East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh. On 9 March, AIPWA Secretary Kavita Krishnan was the main speaker at a joint rally of women’s groups at Koppal, Karnataka.
On March 8, Puducherry units of AIPWA, AICCTU, RYA, AISA jointly took out a massive street corner campaign in urban and rural areas of Puducherry. The campaigners demanded implementation of Supreme Court orders to restrict liquor sale; waiver of micro finance loans to all SHGs; an end to moral policing of women students; and implementation of labour laws.