Women’s Bill in
upper House today, may strain PDP-Cong ties
The Executive Committee of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC Abbas) is convened in Srinagar on Sunday to review political and security events in Jammu and Kashmir since January 22, when the first round of talks with Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, lock place in Delhi.
All 1023 polling stations, being set up in the Anantnag Parliamentary constituency for the coming Lok Sabha poll, have been declared hypersensitive and sensitive, according to District Election Officer Asgar Samoon.
Women’s Bill in upper House today, may
Jammu, March 10
The Bill passed unanimously by the Assembly generated countrywide protests, but the PDP has so far refused to relent even on the advice of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The PDP which was in power with the support of the Congress has also refused to accept the advice of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, to refer it to a Select Committee.
The session of the council convened in the afternoon was expected to generate heat.
Deputy Chief Minister, Mangat Ram Sharma, convened an emergency meeting of the Congress legislators this morning at his residence to take stock of the situation and asked the members of the Upper House belonging to the party to vote against the Bill.
President of the National Conference (NC), Omar Abdullah, also summoned his party’s MLCs and directed them to support the Bill that seeks to deny state subject rights to the women marrying outsiders.
The PDP was also in favour of the Bill and the party chief, Ms Mehbooba Mufti, was camping at Srinagar for the past few days apparently to take political mileage out of the Bill.
All eyes now were fixed on chairman of the council, Abdul Rashid Dar, how he handles the situation. The Bill could pass in case a situation of voting came as the 14 members of the NC, four of PDP, one of the CPI and an Independent could tip the balance in favour of the Bill. However, such a situation would strain the PDP-Congress coalition.
On the other hand, Mr Bhim Singh, chairman of the Panthers Party, a partner of the ruling coalition, today urged Governor S.K. Sinha to dismiss the Mufti government. He also threatened that his party would pull out of the coalition in case the Bill was not withdrawn by the government.
He told mediapersons that the Mufti has defied Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Congress president Mrs Sonia Gandhi, who had requested him to resolve the issue.
Mr Bhim Singh said that he talked to Congress general secretary, Mrs Ambika Soni, over the telephone and suggested her that the Congress should withdraw support to the Mufti.
When contacted, Mr Mangat Ram Sharma told The Tribune that following the introduction of the Bill tomorrow in the Upper House, the Congress would move a motion seeking that the Bill is referred to a select committee. In case the motion was rejected, the Congress members would vote against the government’s motion for passing the Bill.
A senior Congress legislator said that keeping in view the composition of the Upper House, the controversial Bill was bound to fall as no combination without the support of the Congress was in a position to get the Bill passed. These views were endorsed by a MLC belonging to the PDP.
However, sources said that Mr Sharma came under criticism of the Congress legislators who accused him of taking the issue casually when the Bill was initially being prepared for introduction in the Assembly. Mr Sharma who simply walked into the trap of the PDP on the contentious issue at that time took no legislator into confidence, they alleged.
Most of the legislators were annoyed over the “wrong move” of Mr Sharma that has put the Congress in the dock in the country on the eve of the crucial Lok Sabha elections. They said that the adamant attitude of the PDP might lead to serious consequences.
Meanwhile, Mr Bhim Singh claimed that fundamentalism of the Mufti had come in the open with the PDP sticking to its stand of supporting the Bill. The PDP with strength of 16 in the Assembly of 87 had no right to claim it to be a representative of the whole state. He accused the PDP of trying to mislead the people on the issue of the Bill.
The state BJP president, Dr Nirmal Singh, has criticised Law and Parliamentary Minister, Muzaffar Hussain Beig, for rejecting the genuine demand for withdrawal of the Bill.
A large number of lawyers took out procession in the city today against the Bill.
adds: In the 36-member council, main opposition the National Conference
is the largest group with 15 members while the PDP (4), Congress (8) and
their allies, the CPI and the Panther’s Party, with one each have a
combined strength of 14. There is a lone independent member while six
seats are vacant.
Jammu, March 10
“We are forced to make such a appeal to our sisters in the country to register our protest against those who passed this anti-women Bill despite the fact that they have been sent to state Assembly as representatives with our support,” the convener of Action Committee for Protection of Women’s Rights (ACPWR), Ms Seema Khajuria Shekhar, told reporters here last evening.
Attacking all political parties, she said none of them raised any protest when the Bill was passed in the state Assembly on March 5.
She also lambasted PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti for her stand despite having promised that no injustice would be meted out to the women of the state.
The ACPWR said women of Jammu and Kashmir were aggrieved as they have been deprived of their fundamental right which the Constitution of India guarantees under article 14.
“Nowhere in the Constitution is it written that if a women from Jammu and Kashmir marries an outsider, she will lose her rights. Even Article 22 offers us right to equality in all social and educational matters,” they said.
Ms Shekhar said the ACPWR would appeal to the state Governor not to give his assent to the Bill if it was passed by the Legislative Council on March 11.
Srinagar: Women today took to the streets in support of the Permanent Resident Disqualification Bill which has generated a heated debate within and outside the state.
The women, holding placards in support of the Bill, marched through different streets in the city.
APHC (Abbas) wants end to custodial killings
Jammu, March 10
APHC Chairman Maulvi Abbas Ansari said this exercise was being undertaken to decide the extent to which “we should move during the second round of talks scheduled to be held towards the end of the current month”.
He said today “we are under pressure neither from fellow travellers for abandoning parleys nor have we any plan to pull out of the talks even if the Centre has not fulfilled its commitment made to us during the first round of dialogue”.
Maulvi Ansari claimed that “we have received support from several political groups, intellectuals and common people for our daring decision to accept the offer for talks from the Centre”.
He said “at the same time we have to equip ourselves with details of human rights violations being committed by the security forces in the state when such incidents cast a shadow on the spirit of the dialogue”.
The APHC Chairman wanted the Centre and the state government to initiate measures for ending “custodial killings and other excesses which alone could generate a favourable atmosphere for the parleys to reach any logical conclusion”.
He said “before we proceed to Delhi for the resumption of the dialogue, if the Centre stuck to its schedule of holding it towards the end of the current month, we would feel encouraged if by then all political detenues were released including those held under the POTA and languishing in different jails”.
He said “many people continue to inquire from us whether continuation of talks with the Centre was feasible and suitable when in the past 47 days there has been no perceptible change in the security and political environment as far as excesses by the security forces and miseries of detained people were concerned”.
The Maulvi wanted the Centre to take cognisance of these
facts and adopt a new policy which could ensure feasibility of the
dialogue failing which “we may not receive as much support from the
people as we have received so far”.
Srinagar, March 10
A total of 609 polling stations would be set up in Anantnag and 414 in Pulwama. Out of these, 604 polling stations have been declared hypersensitive and 419 sensitive, he said. The entire electorate of 9,89,993 in the constituency had obtained photo identity cards, he said adding that 5131 government employees would be deployed on election duty.
Urging security agencies to keep a
strict vigil on law and order situation during the elections, he said a
media centre and a helpline had already been established in his office.