Even as Saturday saw celebrations to mark International Women’s Day, a few women mid-day meal workers, protesting at Jantar Mantar demanding their salaries, were lathi-charged when they were tried to march towards Parliament.
The incident took place around 4.30 pm on Saturday. The protesters, mostly from West Bengal and led by Swami Agnivesh, started to march towards Parliament. When barricades were put up to stop them, some women tried to jump across. When police personnel deployed at Jantar Mantar tried to stop them, the protesters clashed with police.
A few of the protesters were injured in the lathi-charge, a member from the group said.
According to police, however, no force was used to stop the protesters. A senior police officer said, “Around 2,000 protesters were marching towards Parliament when they were stopped by police. We asked them to disperse, but they refused. Some of the women who tried to climb the barricade fell and injured themselves. They were taken to hospital. No force was used to disperse them.”
Swami Agnivesh who was present at Jantar Mantar during the incident said, “This police action is condemnable. On Women’s Day, these mid-day meal workers were beaten up. They were marching peacefully. The police could have stopped them by taking 10 or 12 of them to Parliament. What was the need for using force? The PM should apologise for this incident,” he said.