The 10th West Bengal APIWA state conference was concluded on 19th of November 2017 at Jogesh Chandra school in Howrah. The central agenda of the conference was women’s resistance against the ongoing fascist onslaughts. The conference resolved to strengthen the movement for women’s fearless liberty, dignity and equality. About 200 activists participated in the conference. The stage of the conference was named after Comrade Gita Das, the former Honorary all India President of AIPWA, and the conference place was named after Comrade Srilata Swaminathan, the former all India President of AIPWA.
AIPWA National President Comrade Rati Rao and AIPWA National General Secretary Comrade Meena Tewari were present in the conference. The conference started with the outgoing state secretary of West Bengal, Comrade Chaitali Sen urging delegates to intensify women’s resistance to the right-wing Sangh forces and the Trinamool Congress Government in West Bengal, and to stand with the new forms of gender movement that are blooming in different college and university campuses. All India President Comrade Rati Rao stated that democracy suffers the most when fascist forces rise up. She said that at present Hindutva forces and the Cow-vigilante groups are attacking our choices of food, living and thinking. Couples in inter-caste and inter-religion marriages are facing dire consequences and women should form strong movements against these ongoing organized attacks.
The acting secretary Comrade Indrani Dutta read the conference draft consisting of the description of present political, social situations, the present organisational situation, discussions on the forthcoming path of struggle and AIPWA’s contribution to the women’s movement. Following this, the delegates present in the conference of the house actively participated in a discussion. ASHA, Mid-day meal workers discussed their working conditions and situation. Bidi worker Ashima Mandal stated that the central government asked the Bidi workers to make digital cards within 15 days and warned that on not making the digital cards they won’t be given pensions. Rupali Bag of Howrah discussed the exploitations carried out on the ASHA workers.
AIPWA’S General Secretary Com. Meena Tewari stressed on the need for an organized fight against the BJP, which though came to power by selling dreams of achhe din but are now betraying the people. Recently in Jharkhand an eleven year old girl named Santoshi died out of hunger as the ration shop didn’t allow her food because she had no Aadhaar card. In Uttar Pradesh the child mortality rate has increased. Education, health and culture are all in danger. The RSS organisation Durga Vahini is trying to strengthen feudal forces and practices from urban areas till the last remote village. She also appealed to the house that in the 100th year of Russian revolution, which saw effective participation of women, an oath be taken to organize in high numbers against the fascist forces.
AICCTU State Secretariat member Com. Meena Pal stated that united struggle must be formed between the trade union and women’s association on the agenda of equality, dignity and same-wage in spite of sector-wise work distinctions. On behalf of AISA, Com. Nilasish Bose stated that joint struggles were formed previously with AIPWA on the slogan of Beti ladegi-Beti padegi-Beti badegi on the demand of freedom without fear. He also asked to build-up joint struggles in the future.
At the end of the delegate session the state acting secretary Indrani Dutta called for resistance against fascist onslaughts and asked for strengthening the organization among the new members. The draft document was passed unopposed and a 43-member council body and a 19-member executive council got elected. The house elected Comrade Gauri De as the state president, Comrade Indrani Dutta as the state secretary, Comrade Malina Bakshi as the vice-president and Comrade Archana Ghatak and Comrade Kajol De as joint-secretaries, The conference ended with playing of the Internationale and slogans for women’s liberation.