(The Asian Independent)
– Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Mr Ashok Agyani is a trade union leader for the last thirty years and has been very active with the issues related to Safai Karmcharis and Valmiki community. He has been trying to bring together diverse communities of Scheduled Castes into one platform in Delhi for the last 10 years. On March 24th, 2018, he started a separate political movement in Delhi and tried built an alternative alliance of all the three major parties in Delhi. It came with a slogan of a Valmiki Chief minister in Delhi and contested in the five constituencies of Delhi for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Born in the Valmiki community, Ashok’s father was a hotel employee while mother was a homemaker. He grew up in Delhi and got a job in a hotel. In 1995, he got as Secretary of the Hotel Labour Union. His role models are Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Shaheed-e-azam Bhagat Singh. Ashok Agyani has been associated with various trade unions like AICTU and CITU but now has charted an independent path for himself. He has been deeply worried about the conditions of the Safai Karmcharis in the MCD and other government bodies in Delhi and has been mobilising them to fight for their right. He has also been deeply engaged with the issues of Adivasis in Palghar, Maharashtra.
His aim is to establish an equitable society based on democratic values. In this conversation with Vidya Bhushan Rawat, Ashok Agyani speak of his conviction that political power is extremely important if the condition of Valmiki community has to be changed and for that the community also has to see that merely becoming an MLA or MP or minister will not be suffice as there are MLAs and MPs of the community as well as there is a Safai Karmchari Ayog, but none of them have raised the issue of Valmiki community, sanitation workers facing difficulties during CoronaVirus crisis. Despite the government’s promise to pay one crore rupees to all the Frontline workers claimed as Corona warriors, none of the Safai karmcharis who died in Delhi, got any assistance meant for the Front line workers. Not even the community leaders visited them. Ashok Agyani has raised these issues and is continuously working towards charting an independent political path of the community.
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