|CONCLUDING at Guwahati on October 7, the three-day 5th Assam state conference of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) asked the women of the state to build up a strong movement against terrorism and imperialism, apart from strengthening the movement against atrocities on women. The conference also appealed to the women of the state to rally behind the democratic forces against the anti-people policies of the BJP-led government at the centre.
Expressing concern over the BJP government's support to the US-led attacks on Afghanistan, the conference warned the government not to bow to the US dictates on the issue of fighting terrorism. The conference stressed the need of uniting the people against terrorism, but pointed out that it was the US itself that gave birth to the fundamentalist Taliban and the dreaded terrorists like Osama bin Laden. It also pointed out how the various outfits operating in north-east India are backed by the US.
Addressing a public rally held at Latasil playground held on the occasion, AIDWA general secretary Brinda Karat said the anti-people policies pursued by the BJP-led government has pushed the women of the country to the verge of a major crisis. She detailed how the Vajpayee-led government has adopted retrograde policies to marginalise the Indian women. "While there has been a growing demand for reservation of 33 per cent seats in the panchayats, state assemblies and the parliament, the BJP government wants to confine the women within the four walls of the kitchen," she added.
Speaking on the occasion, AIDWA joint secretary Banani Biswas and West Bengal mass education minister Nandarani Das underlined the need for ensuring participation of all sections of women in the movement for equal rights. The AIDWA's Assam state secretary Rezia Khatun urged the women to prepare themselves for the challenges posed before them by the prevailing situation in the state and in the national and international arena. The meeting was presided over by state AIDWA president Satyabati Bhuyan, and also addressed by the AIDWA's working president Shyamoli Gupta and state CPI(M) secretary Hemen Das.
Inaugurating the conference, Shyamoli Gupta expressed the apprehension that the centre's move to include astrology in educational curriculum would only aggravate the problems faced by women in the socio-economic and political spheres.
A total of 210 delegates from all over Assam attended the state conference. Rezia Khatun moved the state committee's report to the conference. As many as 30 delegates took part in the discussion on the report, throwing light on the issues confronting the women in the state, like atrocities against women, increasing prices of essential commodities, cultural degeneration in the wake of globalisation, and also on the issues concerning economic development of the state.
The conference resolved to build up a strong movement against the attacks on education and culture being launched by the communal-fundamentalist forces, price hike of essential commodities, increasing attacks on women by the extremists, atrocities on women, against the policies of globalisation and liberalisation; in support of the demand for strengthening the public distribution system, and for development of Assam.
The conference elected a 52-member new state committee with Satyabati Bhuyan as president and Meera Tamuli as general secretary. The conference also elected 25 delegates for the AIDWA's national conference, scheduled to be held at Visakhapattanam.
The welcome address was given by Nirpuma Talukdar and the concluding speech by Satyabati Bhuyan. (INN)