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Regional News: Visakhapatnam

Lathicharge on AASHA workers, CI suspended

Vizianagaram, April 7 (INN): Taking a serious note on the police lathicharge on Andhra Pradesh Voluntary Health Workers' Union (AASHA) members, Superintendent of Police Naveen Gulati on Thursday suspended Town Circle Inspector Trinath from duties with immediate effect and ordered a probe into the entire incident.

Earlier, Home Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy on Thursday condemned the police lathicharge on Aasha workers, who were staging a dharna in front of the District Medical and Health Office demanding an increase in their wages. She also directed the Director General of Police K Aravinda Rao to order a probe into the entire incident.

Following the directions of Home Minister, the DGP asked the Superintendent of Police to immediately suspended CI Trinath from duties pending inquiry.

Circle Inspector Trinath and Sub-Inspector of Police Apparao had lathicharged the women volunteers of Aasha when they tried to picket District Medical and Health Office in Vizianagaram on Thursday morning. The lathi-charge was captured on film by television camera crew and was repeatedly broadcast on a vernacular news channel, leading to a public outcry.

Four Aasha workers fell unconscious due to the lathi blows rained indiscriminately on them, while many other protestors were left injured. SP Naveen Gulati stated that two Home Guards also sustained injuries during the melee. He said the lathicharge took place on Aasha workers as they resorted to attack the Home Guards and tried to barge into District Medical and Health Office.

Union Secretary B Sudha Rani said though the workers were promised wages on the basis of work discharged, they were being paid not more than Rs 400. She said the workers were staging an agitation demanding minimum wages and Rs 100 as TA and DA.

Ms Sudha Rani said the government burdened them with additional works such as registration of births, deaths and marriages, sanitation, government surveys etc. Even the incentive paid for the pulse polio programme was slashed from Rs 75 to Rs 50 and tubectomy charges they were paid for were reduced from Rs 150 to Rs 50.

She said that the workers were rendering invaluable service under the National Rural Health Mission to safeguard the health of pregnant women, infants and poor people across the State.

News Posted: 7 April, 2011
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