Kerala Anganwadi teachers march to Sreenivasan’s house, demand apology

The actor had criticised Anganwadi workers during a television interview, claiming that they had no qualification to teach little children.
Anganwadi teachers and Shahida Kamal
Anganwadi teachers and Shahida Kamal
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At least 50 women teachers marched to the residence of popular Malayalam actor and writer Sreenivasan in Kochi on Friday, asking him to apologise for his remarks against Anganwadi teachers.

Shouting slogans against the actor, the teachers said that if Sreenivasan fails to apologise, they will seek legal recourse.

Following COVID-19 norms in place, the protesters took part in the march, maintaining physical distancing norms and wearing masks.

In an interview with a vernacular TV channel, Sreenivasan turned critical about the Anganwadi teachers here and said they are people who have no qualifications at all, while in countries like Japan those who teach children are knowledgeable in psychiatry and psychology.

"This is one profession where one has to have a lot of patience and the children are exposed to them and it's their (the teachers’) qualities they acquire," was the statement he made.

The association approached Shahida Kamal - a member of the Kerala Women's Commission -- and gave the complaint and this is being looked into.

Anganwadi workers in the state have recently been lauded for the work they put in during the state's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. From delivering rations and ingredients for mid-day meals of children -- which would otherwise have been stalled during COVID-19 lockdown -- to conducting online classes for pregnant women and new mothers, the Anganwadi teachers have been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic.

The state has 33,115 Anganwadi workers and they have been recently put on a project by the Women and Child Development Department to have online sessions with expectant and new mothers. This was earlier done in physical meetings but owing to the lockdown requirements, the classes were shifted online with the teachers given the necessary training for it.

Sreenivasan, vocal about his opinions on all matters, is known to court controversies with his often-insensitive remarks. Last year, during another television interview, he claimed that there is no gender inequality in Malayalam cinema and questioned the need for an organisation like the Women in Cinema Collective.

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