Jantar Mantar to Parliament House
March 8th, 2010
On the Occasion of Centenary of Womenís Day
We believe in emancipation and empowerment of women as a whole. We welcome the passage of the Women Reservation Bill today on the occasion of the International Womenís Day but definitely not in present form. Because if passed as it is today, it would not empower all women politically and would be against the spirit of the International Women Day.
Then the women, belonging to minorities, Dalits and other backward classes, would further continue to be disempowered. And, this would lead to more asymmetry in the representation of various classes and groups in the country.
Our view is not just based on emotions and bias but facts and figures available on the status of the women belonging to the minority and Dalit communities. Have a look at the following data regarding the women belonging to the largest minority community and respond to the call of conscience.
This is our earnest appeal to the honíble Members of Parliament. It is hoped that they would not ignore the fate of a large majority of women belonging to the minorities, Dalits and other marginalized classes, and would do justice to them. Following are the data available about the Muslim women.
- Is it not surprising that only 14 Muslim women out of total 7906 MPs have been elected in the fifteen parliamentary elections held from 1952 to 2009.
- Is it not a fact that the Muslim women constitute only 0.17% out of total 7906 MPs?
- Is it not unbelievable that Muslim women form only 2.5% out of total 542 woman MPs elected from 1952 to 2009?
- Is it not true that since Independence Congress has sent only 9 Muslim women to Lok Sabha while Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) only 2 and Samajwadi Party (SP), National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) one each only?
- Is it not also surprising that there has been representation of Muslim women from only 6 states UP, MP, Assam, J&K, West Bengal and Gujarat in Independent India?
In the light of the above facts, we urge all political parties to play a constructive and proactive role in providing justice to the marginalized communities, rising above any individual and group interests so that the Women Reservation Bill gets necessary amendments to have a quota for Muslim, other minority and Dalit women within the quota for the women before its passage by Parliament.
Press Club of India, New Delhi
March 05 & March 10, 2010
Statement on the Passage of Women Reservation Bill 2008
The passage of the Women Reservation Bill 2008 in its original form by Rajya Sabha on March 9, 2010 is a historical tragedy. The Bill that has yet to get passed by Lok Sabha has sent a wave of shock and resentment among the majority of women belonging to the minorities, Dalits and other backward communities because the present Bill makes the weak weaker and the disempowered more disempowered while empowering further the already empowered high caste and elite class women. Those getting empowered by this Bill are only 25 per cent.
The silver lining between the two major parties on Secularism and Communalism is now over with the passage of this Bill, and it has been proved that these two parties can meet any time in making the weak weaker and the strong stronger.
In fact, whatsoever the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other communal forces had lost with the implementation of the Mandal Commission Report was in search of an opportunity to regain it, and the Women Reservation Bill provides it that opportunity. It is sad that the Congress helped the communal forces in plotting conspiracy against the weaker sections of the society.
It is surprising that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who himself hails from a minority community, could also not pay attention towards the apprehensions of the minorities and other weaker sections. However, he certainly said that the number of minorities is less and his government is trying to make it up through other means but the fact is that this less number canít be raised through any means because if the number is less in the decision-making institutions and they are disempowered politically, any decision with regard to their overall empowerment would not be possible.
Today not only 75 per cent of the women but 75 per cent people in the country belonging to the minorities and other weaker sections are not only afraid but angry with the passage of the Women Reservation Bill by the Rajya Sabha. The dismay of such a large number of people is a matter of big danger for the democracy in our country.
As is obvious, the Bill would now go to Lok Sabha. Therefore, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has still a chance to make amendments in the Bill keeping the interests of the minorities and other weaker sections, and then move to get it pass by the Lok Sabha.
If this does not happen, the 75 per cent weaker people of the country, badly affected by the Bill, would be forced to knock the door of the court.
All India Milli Council along with other Muslim, minority and Dalit organizations has drawn time and again the attention of those in power and different political parties through letters, resolutions and press conferences towards this important issue but it was not taken up seriously and the most unfortunate step was taken in Rajya Sabha on March 9, 2010. The majority of people, particularly the Muslim community, are in dismay and resentment. It is now for the government and different political parties to see how this dismay and resentment is tackled. The ball is in their court.