|Report on Current Developments
The trend of extremist violence and attacks on people that we had noted in our last CEC meeting at New Delhi in mid-November has increased in the intervening period. Many Left activists, especially from the CPI(M)have been the victims of the most barbaric and gruesome attacks. In Purulia district of West Bengal, armed Maoist party goons stormed into the residence of Comrade Rabindranath and Anandamayi Kar in Bandowan area. They prevented others from coming to their aid, and openly poured kerosene around their hut and set fire to it. The two comrades were burnt to death. In Kashmir Comrade Gulzar Ahmed Rahtar, nephew of the CPI(M) MLA Yusuf Tarigami, and another CPI(M) activist Bashir Ahmad were gunned down by militants in their own village. In Jehanabad, Bihar, Comrade Suraj Prasad Vidyarthi was murdered by the Ranbir Sena - the henchmen of the landlords. Comrade Vidyarthi was a respected mukhiya of the local Panchayat, and the vicious attack exposes the hostility to the aspirations of common people by the dominant upper caste leaders of that area.
Within 3 days of the New Year, a shocking incident of 12 tribals being killed in police firing in Kalinga Nagar of Orissa revealed the repressive arm of the state firing on poor people who were protesting in defence of their right not to be dislocated in the name of industrial development. The resistance from the adivasis to the take over of 2000 acres of land by the steel giant TISCO, without adequate compensation (while the tribals were paid at the rate of Rs.2,200 per acre of land by IDCO, it was sold to Tatas at Rs. 3 lakh per acre!) was targeted by the police in a planned, cold blooded manner. The firing was aimed above the waist; the police shot to kill. The wounded lay without any medical aid for more than 6 hours. At the hospital, the palms of 5 of the deceased were chopped off, citing forensic requirements-a brutal act impermissible by law. The legitimate demands of the tribals in Orissa is an issue that has to be taken up by all organizations fighting for the survival rights of people, as neo-liberal policies are displacing thousands of tribals.
In Assam too militant activity has increased, and attacks by ULFA just before Republic Day have plucked the lives of innocent civilians. Many extortion demands are being made by terrorist bands, and the employees and activists live under a daily threat to their lives. The seriousness of the challenge posed by the rise of fanatic and extremist forces was further evident in the dastardly bomb attack on scientists of the Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, in which one succumbed to his injuries.
AIDWA expresses its condolence to the families of all those who have thus lost their lives. The danger posed to the democratic forces by the rise of such violence is a very serious matter, and the retrograde return to the law of the jungle that is vitiating the daily lives of ordinary people, and causing great distress to children and women in many states has to be addressed on a very urgent basis.
The damage caused by heavy rains in Tamil Nadu, with 22 districts being affected, and huge loss to crops, and to lives and property have badly affected large sections of the poor. 20 lakh acres of cultivable land was inundated. Several residential colonies were marooned, and the people lost all their belongings-clothes, ration cards, etc, and school children lost their books.
In this context of desperation, the lack of preparedness on the part of the State Government while relief was to be distributed, led to tragic stampedes in Chennai. In the second incident, 42 people lost their lives, of whom a large number were women
We also express our deep grief at the loss of lives during the Haj pilgrimage.
US Tactics of Domination:
There has been no let up in the USA's attempts to extend domination even while its democratic credentials are receiving a further battering. The trial of Saddam Hussein with a rigged up jury is nothing less than a farce. The role of the CIA in transporting prisoners suspected of having links with terrorists to countries where they could be tortured is a shameful expose' of US arrogance and complicity in the abuse of human rights. Discontent within the US on its presence in Iraq continues to spread as the body count keeps mounting steadily. The "war for oil" tactics of the US administration will directly profit the private oil companies which are all set to exploit the resources that have been made accessible in Iraq after the invasion. At the same time, these companies have earned the ire of common people in the US with their refusal to regulate the price of heating oil in the midst of a very cold winter. The average consumer was faced with a 16% increase in cost over last year, which hit hardest the 37 million Americans estimated to be living in poverty by the US Census Bureau. The greed of US-owned private oil companies to profit at the expense of the poor Americans was shamefully brought out when President Chavez of Venezuela supplied oil to the US poor at reduced prices!
Within Iraq, the dissension between the different groups, and the merciless continuation of attacks by US troops has made peace a far removed ideal. Traumatized children await the next bomb in fear. The discovery that white phosphorus was used in the Fallujah attack demonstrates US brazenness in flouting all international codes. Intellectuals,-professors, doctors, who had played a prominent role in Iraqi Universities prior to the war are being systematically assassinated. The elected Government is playing stooge to the US occupiers.
Even as Iraqi people continue to suffer, the attempt to enlarge the domination to Iran and Syria is continuing. Indeed, Israel has recently threatened that if Iran does not dismantle its nuclear installations, they will launch an attack on Iran. This announcement comes against the backdrop of reported plans drawn up by US and Israel to strike Iran's nuclear facilities with bunker buster bombs- a possibility with horrifying implications for the war torn region.
Latin America - A Transformation Underway:
It is the recent developments in a region close to the USA that have been most encouraging and inspiring for working people the world over. The anti-imperialist militancy exhibited by Venezuelan President Chavez has now found an echo in Bolivia, where Evo Morales was recently elected the President. This indigenous Bolivian characterized himself as America's nightmare, and has established a good relationship with both Chavez and Fidel Castro. Indeed, the inspiring example that was set earlier by Cuba is now being followed through by these countries, and the regional co operation between them will strengthen their resistance to US hegemony. Cuba has already offered to send doctors to Bolivia to help and train their own people; Morales has requested for and been assured of receiving technical and human resources for a literacy campaign which will focus especially on women in the country side. He has sworn to wipe out the bane of illiteracy as a priority task. His remark that the state has neglected peasant women reveals a consciousness which will certainly benefit the poor women of this country. With additional economic support in the form of low cost oil from Venezuela, they are sure to emerge from an earlier dependence on the US and forge a new socialist path of development. The "Axis of Good" as Morales has termed it poses a huge threat to US political economic and cultural hegemony.
Just recently, Chile elected a Socialist leader Michelle Bachelet to be its first woman President. She is a victim of torture by the Pinochet regime in 1973-1990, and belongs to the same party as Salavador Allende. She has pledged during her victory speech to bring more social equality in Chile by the time her term ends, with social security and equal educational opportunities for all.
Along with Uruguay, and to some extent Brazil, a shift to the Left is evident. Hostile reaction from US imperialism has to be thwarted not only by the combined forces in that region but also by strengthening global solidarity of all anti-imperialist forces at a global level, in which the people of India too will have to play a role.
Nearer home, improved relations with Pakistan has increased the feeling of camaraderie between the people of both countries. Indian artistes can now perform in Pakistan, and a famous Pakistani woman folk singer was one of the first bus travelers to come to India on the Lahore-Amritsar bus trip. The visits being shared are an important step forward, and interaction should be encouraged.
The conservative mindset towards women's rights has once again been highlighted in the withdrawal of permission to Mukhtaran Mai to speak at a UN Conference. The mysterious death of Samira Munir in Oslo has also raised questions about the circumstances in which the incident occurred. This member of the Oslo District Council, a Norwegian of Pakistani origin was among the first muslim women to speak out in favour of the ban on headscarves in Norwegian schools. For this outspoken stand, she had been receiving threats to her life from muslim men, and had been summoned twice by the Pakistani Ambassador to Oslo to discuss her political views. The conflict between those who see the hijab as a requirement of faith, and those who do not, has led to this concealed murder, and points to a dangerous trend becoming evident in some of these countries against women's rights to choose their attire.
The situation in Nepal has not changed, and the undemocratic regime of the King who overthrew an elected Government and took over the reins of power continues to deny citizens their democratic space. On January .21st, several democratic and Left political parties came together in their struggle demanding restoration of democracy; their protest rally that violated curfew orders was mercilessly attacked by the Nepali police. The repression has been universally condemned. As students block the streets, resisting brutal lathi charges with vehement public protests and as the struggle intensifies, we extend our support to the people's struggle for the return of democracy in Nepal.
The AIDWA CEC greets the Tripura members for their excellent work in the local self government elections, which has resulted in a sweeping victory for the Left forces. Similarly, the Kerala bye-election was won by the Left, in which AIDWA leaders played a prominent role. Congratulations to these committees.
The victory in Bihar of the JD(U) a partner of the BJP, has in no way solved the problems of the people. Rather, it appears to have strenghthened the morale of the landlord class, as seen in the spurt of violence, with abductions and kidnapping of children being reported frequently.
The ten members from the Lok Sabha and one from the Rajya Sabha who were caught accepting money for asking questions in Parliament once again exposes the extent and reach of corruption and lack of public accountability that pervades the political system. Swift and exemplary action was taken against the guilty MPs by the Speaker and the majority of members supported the decision in both Houses of Parliament. At a time when such self regulation is the exception, it is important not to confuse the issue, and there should be no attempt to retract on the correct procedures that were followed by the Speaker, in the context of the notices issued by the Supreme Court in the matter.
The BJP as a party is in complete disarray. Though the BJP has a new President in Rajnath Singh, the controlling influence of the RSS has been clearly and unapologetically established. Its image has been further compromised by the sting operation that captured 6 of its legislators accepting bribes for raising questions in Parliament. Advani's statement in Parliament, when the House was deciding on the removal of the 11 tainted members, that the punishment was not commensurate with the crime, once again revealed the prevarication that the BJP is capable of. Its ally the Shiv Sena has also suffered a set back with a vertical split down the line in the Thackeray family, and the subsequent loss of seats in the Konkan area in the recent Assembly bye-elections in Maharashtra.
Given the state in which the BJP finds itself today, the Sangh Parivar is latching on to issues at any cost. One such glaring instance of diversion of issues was the Ramdev episode. The over-riding issue of workers getting thrown out of employment by the Divya Yoga Pharmacy was completely side-tracked into a personal diatribe against our Vice President Brinda Karat, who raised the issue of the violation of workers rights' in Parliament along with the mis-labelling of formulations as herbal remedies, when they actually contained animal parts. What enraged the Baba and his Hindutva supporters was not just that his credibility was being questioned, but also the fact that it was a woman who was challenging him. The whole issue was diverted and made out to be an assault on "Hindu Culture." The media too contributed in no small way to the distortion, and helped to propagate the false impression that it was an attack on the entire system of Ayurveda and Yoga. A series of uncivilized protests followed, with anti socials trying to attack the Central Committee Office of the CPI(M). Along with other organizations, our AIDWA cadre safeguarded the office, and refused to be cowed down by the attackers. In many states there were huge demonstrations in protest, some jointly, some independently. The CITU held a Press Conference where the affected workers participated and explained the issues. More than 150 intellectuals and leading figures issued a joint statement criticizing the personalization of the issue, and demanded that the real issues should be focused upon.
While the incident helped to expose the real right-wing face of such Babas, it also reveals the dangerous obscurantism of the Hindu right and the manner in which it can use the media to serve its own purposes. It reiterates the need to popularize a scientific and rational approach amongst the people; this is indeed the challenge placed before democratic organizations, particularly women's organizations, which we will have to take up in the future.
It must be noted that the insidious communalization of institutions continues, especially in the states where the BJP is in power. For example, the discovery of a mass grave of victims from the 2002 carnage in Gujarat led to a mass outrage and the NHRC has stepped in to conduct an enquiry. However, the local police have slapped charges against those who made the complaint as having violated the law.
In MP, it is not accidental that a tribal woman whose hand was cut off because she dared to register a rape complaint against the upper caste assaulters did not receive any support from the BJP state government. The State Women's Commission went so far as to threaten her to change her statement, while she was in hospital. The AIDWA Madhya Pradesh unit extended support, and it was only after a question was raised in the Rajya Sabha by Brinda Karat, and the local AIDWA intervened to take it up with the police that the complaint was registered and action taken. A militant mass rally was organized condemning the anti woman stance of the MP State Commission for Women.
During this period, the UPA Government. has been indulging in a series of moves that are greatly detrimental to the interests of the common people. Its back stabbing of Iran in the IAEA vote, and its current wheedling up to the US, are indeed shameful regressions from our earlier non aligned stance. This will bode ill for the Indian people if allowed to continue. With Bush slated to visit India in March, he and the Indian Govt. should not be left in any doubt of what the people think about him.
Hong Kong Talks:
The UPA has especially let down the crisis ridden peasantry in the WTO talks that were held at Hong Kong in December 2000. The deal made there was once again in the interests of the developing countries, who have managed to keep their agricultural subsidies out of the basket till 2013. However, farmers in India and other developing countries are being forced into unprotected competition. There is no doubt that number of farmer's suicides in India will increase if these policies continue.
There has been a setback in the service sector where the pace of liberalization has been accelerated. Sectoral negotiations will now be facilitated in key areas such as finance, telecommunications, postal services, computer and business services, and in distribution and education. The opening up of domestic economies to foreign investors on the same basis as the local investors has very negative implications for the interests of the people. It is indeed a pity that the developing countries have yielded much more than they have received in this round of negotiations.
The NREGA has been passed and is shortly expected to come into force in 200 districts. This is a great achievement, with all credit to the Left parties and organizations such as ours who campaigned hard for its passage. However, for the Act to actually benefit women, a careful monitoring would be required in the designated districts to ensure that women too are registered as work-seekers, and also given work. The type of work should also be altered to suit women. The minimum wage at Rs.60/- is mandatory, and if the Government is unable to give employement, it will have to pay unemployment allowance. All AIDWA units in these districts should make use of the provisions of the Act and hold meetings to make women aware of them to ensure its implementation.
The Government has increased the number of Anganwadi Centres and slightly increased the amount to be spent on the supplementary nutrition component. A major joint intervention with the ICDS Union on the entitlements of children and women, along with taking up the issues of Anganwadi workers would be required to actualize this in the areas.
The NRHM has been launched in 18 states and the move to identify the link worker ASHA is on. The effectiveness of this programme strategy has yet to be gauged. On the one hand, we should not permit the weakening of the Primary Health Care system. The functioning of ASHA who is conceived of as a volunteer is beset by problems, which we would have to take up in the concerned states.
However, barring these few exceptions due to the pressure exerted by the Left parties, the UPA government has not fulfilled its promises made in the CMP which are in the interest of the people.
Move to Further Weaken PDS:
It is on the issue of PDS that the UPA Government is doing an about turn from its CMP commitment of strengthening the PDS.A sudden Cabinet decision was announced in the first week of January according to which BPL and Antyodaya card holders would have their foodgrain quota cut by 5kg per month. The rationale for this was to save a subsidy of Rs 4500 crores.
The UPA Government has .granted around Rs.4524 crores to asset holding sections when it did away with Capital Gains Tax. But at a time when the per capita grain consumption has declined from 476 grams a day in 1991 to 418 grams a day in 2001, when at least half the children in India are born with severe protein deficiency,(which affects brain development and learning capacity)and when anaemia is such a widespread phenomenon, especially amongst women, it is nothing short of scandalous for the UPA to cut the quota.
A recent report from Rajasthan revealed for instance that 99% of those surveyed faced endemic hunger. 25% had faced starvation in the previous week. The situation in many other states is no better. This policy move would have had a devastating effect on women and child nutrition.
Alongside of this, the entire system of procurement and distribution would have been adversely affected. The combined opposition of many parties, especially the Left, women's organizations, and even some of the Congress state units, this was withheld. But the Minister has announced that the move was being suspended till the forthcoming Assembly elections are over. The intention of the Government to dismantle the PDS appears intractable, and will need to be fiercely resisted in the coming period.
Secondly, on the issue of dual pricing for kerosene and the rise in price of cooking gas, the UPA is planning to implement these retrograde measures. Many state units of AIDWA launched militant protests against this policy. On 1st December, a delegation met the Petroleum Minister to submit our memorandum. The Minister called us again for a detailed discussion, the gist of it being that the increase in price was inevitable, given the diversion of kerosene to petrol depots. We insisted that this was not the solution and asked that we should be involved in the monitoring committees that are being proposed.
The UPA has also gone back on its promise of bringing in the Women's Reservation Bill during the monsoon session of Parliament. The attempt by all the bourgeois parties to put this Act on the back burner is something that has to be resisted, and large joint actions will have to be launched.
Tribal Rights Bill:
The Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill was placed in Parliament and has been sent to a Joint Select Committee for its consideration. The final draft is a much diluted version and has not kept the interests of tribals in mind. The cut-off date for the settlement of rights has been fixed at 1980 and the core areas of the protected areas will only have provisional rights till the relocation is effected. This will result in several evictions and displacement, having a devastating effect on poor families. Further the committees for monitoring and settlement of rights only have government officials, and give enough leeway of control to the draconian forest department. It muse be noted that there is no compulsory representation of women on any of these committees. The process initiated by this Bill will deny many tribals their basic rights and we will have to represent to the Select Committee to recommend the required changes.
The demand for a Comprehensive Central legislation for Agricultural Labour has been a long standing one, as also for a Comprehensive Bill for the unorganized sector workers. Huge mobilizations, one organized by the AIAWU, and another by the CITU in Delhi organized in this period highlights the plight of these two major sections of workers. Women form a significant section amongst unorganized workers, and agricultural workers and The situation is becoming worse due to increase in distress migration from rural areas as well. It is imperative for AIDWA to enhance the struggle for these very important legislations.
A Bill to set up a separate Commission on Rights of Children has been placed in Parliament, and this is an important initiative. To strengthen its functioning, bureaucratic control over it should be reduced and instead, it should be empowered to act autonomously, similar to the NHRC.
The privatization of education is continuing at an alarming rate, and this will have a very negative impact on women's education. The announcement of free education for single girl children may not actually reach large sections of the poor for whom this is not a feasible option, and hence it appears that this is a mainly populist move which can benefit only a few middle and upper class families.
The large mushrooming of private professional educational institutions in the country, and the tremendous commercialization has reduced higher education to a commodity. The special provision to ensure that students belonging to SC, STs and OBCs can also access higher education is available in Govt. or Govt. aided institutions. But private unaided institutions fall outside the ambit of this provision. The Supreme Court itself had suggested that suitable enactment should be made to address this weakness, and the amendment brought in by the Govt. is aimed at addressing the lacunae. The BJP's attempt to stall it on the grounds that the minority institutions-which are covered by a separate article-should also be covered, is a means of diverting the fundamental objective of enhancing social justice, and has to be resisted. There should be no misuse of the exception given to minority institutions to allow commercialization under this guise, and state legislations will have to ensure that appropriate enactment of laws ensures that the interests of weaker sections are protected.
The continuing ban order on jobs in Govt. Departments, and the decision to abolish posts lying vacant for 6 months, announced through a routine circular of the Finance Ministry, will have very negative implications for employment of youth in this country. The scope for educated girls and boys to obtain jobs in the organized sector is seriously affected. We oppose this retrograde step of the UPA Govt.
Women employees of Call centers:
With the proliferation of the call centre industry employing more than 2,45,000 people in India, and visibly large units, increasingly, a sizeable number of young women are working under one roof in Delhi-Gurgaon-Noida, in Bangalore, in Kolkota, Pune, Chennai etc. These call centers follow a repressive labour regime in which a very young work force is conned into believing that they are successful well paid achievers, whereas the fact is they are being turned into wage slaves, despite the air conditioned comforts and snazzy perks like canteens and gym facilities etc. But the disproportionate number of employees who leave their jobs-a figure that has mounted to 45/50 % in 2005, reveals a less rosy picture. The daily humiliation of excessive monitoring and supervision, the racist abuse that the workers are sometimes subject to, the night work schedules that interfere with the normal life cycles, the adverse impact on health, particularly mental health are all aspects that have to be addressed.
The precarious lives of women employees of call centres, who have to travel at night to reach their work place was tragically demonstrated in the rape and murder of a young woman traveling to her call centre in Bangalore by the driver of her vehicle. Our Bangalore unit intervened in the matter.
Permission for Clinical Trials:
There has been a liberalization in the procedure for drug trials by amending the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, that has opened the way for Indians to be used as guinea pigs by big pharma companies, whether Indian or foreign. The Government has gone ahead with this reprehensible measure, without debate in Parliament or consultation with relevant groups. as a means of earning a large amount of foreign exchange through the outsourcing by pharmaceutical companies of clinical trials in India,. Since the costs here would be 60% less than the costs in a developed country, this move would hugely benefit the large MNC drug companies. Given the economic vulnerability of a large section of our population, especially women, the exploitation inherent in this drastic amendment is obvious, and we have to oppose it.
Violence Against Women:
Eight years after the Supreme Court laid down guidelines to deal with sexual harassment at the work place, women continue to be victimized. A survey by the NCW has thrown up the disturbing findings that the awareness of Vishakha guidelines is still largely lacking in work places surveyed. Out of 799 organizations, 664 had complaint cells. 61 cells were headed by men instead of women. 414 cells did not have NGO or third party participation. The guideline to have at least 50% women on the committees was also not being followed. The over all situation is quite grim as the complainant has to face an even more hostile climate, with political and managerial interference, stigmatization and pressure to withdraw complaints, threats to employment and promotional avenues, and risk of transfer to remote areas.
Meerut incident: The widely prevalent chauvinist mindset that was seen in action during the reaction to Khushboo's statement in Tamil Nadu was echoed in Meerut where young men and women spending time together in a public park suddenly found themselves being harassed and hounded out by the Meerut police. When protests from democratic forces led to action being taken against the policemen, goons from the Bajrang Dal came out in support of the assault, and indeed joined in it by going on the offensive and assaulting the boys and threatening the girls. The curtailment of women's rights and spaces by such forces has to be continuously resisted by AIDWA.
The unimaginable escalation in incidents of violence against women portends a brewing crisis of massive proportions. A retired policeman raping 2 minor girls in the neighbourhood, gang rape in car of a woman by her husband's 'friends', rape of a passenger in a train toilet, and violence against co-passengers who tried to intervene, the list is endless, and is characterized by a brutality truly frightening. In Delhi alone, earlier records are being breached with more than 600 rapes recorded in 2005. Elderly people, especially single women are being targeted by thieves who not only burgle the house, but also murder the residents.
In UP, a dalit woman was lynched by the upper caste villagers for having dared to stand in the panchayat elections. In Punjab, Bant Singh,a dalit labourer who fought a legal battle to get justice for his minor daughter who had been raped by upper caste villagers paid a heavy price for his struggle. After the conviction of the rapists by the Court, he was beaten up severely. To prevent gangrene from setting in both hands and a leg had to be amputated. In Rajasthan, in a case reminiscent of the Bhanwri Devi incident, an Anganwadi worker was raped by a higher official, but with delays, and other factors intervening, the possibility of action is very remote.
The linkages between neo-liberal growth patterns with high unemployment rates, migration in search of work, the media distortions of a display of women as commodities, while patriarchal inequalities still prevail - it is indeed a dangerous combination of factors that is fuelling the increase in violence. AIDWA will have to tackle its many dimensions in the coming period.
The I&B Ministry has been in the process of drawing up codes for regulation of TV channels, and AIDWA has been the only women's organization participating in the consultations. We have demanded strongly that the insulting and anti-woman stereo typing idealized in countless TV serials should not be permitted, along with the other aspects of sexual commodification.
The Kunhalikutty case in Kerala came up for hearing in the High Court, and since the 4 victims and 2 witnesses all turned hostile, the accused were let off for lack of evidence. The use of threats and bribes to force the witnesses to change their statements, the manner in which the trial was engineered so that the political big- wigs involved could go scot free, all point to glaring inadequacies in the system which will have to be addressed. It especially highlights the need for witness protection. AIDWA had been leading the campaign on this case and we have submitted a petition to the NHRC in Delhi.
An NHRC Study has brought out an alarming rise in prostitution despite a plethora of laws to check it. According to the study, 4.5 lakh women are trafficked in the Asia Pacific region every year, of which 2 lakh are from South Asia alone. It points out that India is fast becoming a favourite destination for child sex tourism, and that the abuse of both male and female children has acquired serious proportions. But since the problem has not been seriously tackled or discussed openly, the likelihood of child abusers being caught and punished is very low. The study states that Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are the preferred places. The study also reveals that contrary to public perception, it is married men-those living with their spouses-who are most likely visitors to brothels, than those living away from their families.
This reiterates the grave situation underlined by a UN report which indicates that 20.000 women are forced into the flesh trade every year. Girls are brought to Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore from Nepal, Rajasthan, AP, TN, Assam and other North eastern States and West Bengal. Newspaper reports reveal horrifying statistics of 61% of the victims being below 18 years of age, and 45% below 16 years of age. Those involved in human trafficking make over 1.5 crores a year, making it the most profitable organized crime racket after arms and drugs. AIDWA will have to take cognizance of this growing problem on an urgent basis and formulate strategies to prevent trafficking.
It is imperative for the AIDWA to strengthen the struggle in many spheres simultaneously, as the multidimensional nature of violence and discrimination continues to get exacerbated. The fight at the level of policy interventions has to be followed up with a much more effective monitoring strategy. At every level, we have to mobilize women, and launch effective struggles on all the various issues that are threatening lives and livelihoods. In the 25th year of AIDWA, as we aim to cross the one crore membership target, let us resolve to carry the struggle forward, and ensure that women's rights as citizen, as worker and as woman are safeguarded and enhanced.