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Bills for Women Urged in India

Women’s advocates and political leaders in India are pressing for the passage of two important bills for women’s rights. One bill would reserve 33 percent of seats in Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) and in state assemblies for women. In an effort to enhance the access of women in the decision-making level, Sonia Gandhi, president of the Congress Party of India, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee urging the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the current session of parliament. The Hindu reports that in her letter to the prime minister the Congress Party president also reiterated her party’s support for the legislation.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told the Economic Times that she is hopeful the bill will be passed in the current session despite controversy over consensus among the political parties. Women’s organizations in India are also stepping up their pressure on the government for passage of the pending Domestic Violence Bill. Legal expert Indira Jaising told the Times of India that the bill will ensure early and timely intervention to help women get out of violent relationships.

Women’s organizations say that the urgency to enact law can hardly be exaggerated since many victims of domestic violence end up being killed, according to the Times.

Sources:

The Hindu 4/22/03; Economic Times 4/21/03; Times of India 4/23/03

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