People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 35

August 29, 2004

AIDWA Observes National Demands Day


THE All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) observed National Demands Day for women throughout the country on August 24. While cautioning the people against the BJP attempts to hijack the political agenda and subvert the people’s mandate, the AIDWA campaigned for enactment of employment guarantee act with special provision for women, for universalisation of the public distribution system, for women’s reservation bill and for legislation against domestic violence.


In Delhi, a dharna was held on Parliament Street to highlight these demands. Several activists participated in the dharna despite heavy rains and difficulties in commuting. Brinda Karat, general secretary, Kalindi Deshpande, treasurer, Rehana Sayed central executive committee member addressed the participants. Explaining the background in which these issues have gained prime importance for women in India, in particular the poor women, Brinda Karat stressed upon the urgent need to legislate Employment Guarantee Act, which the UPA government has promised as part of the CMP. “However, mere Act or employment of any kind will not suffice” she said.  “We have to ensure that not only one third of employment is guaranteed for women but also reject all attempts to give women such work which they are unable to do physically, for example earth removing job.” On women’s reservation bill, she recalled that during the NDA government, the Congress and the Left had given a written assurance to support the bill, but the government failed to place it before the parliament even for discussion.  “Is the BJP willing to give a written support today?” she asked. Karat also highlighted the need to pass the domestic violence bill as violence against women is on the constant rise.


Kalindi Deshpande explained in detail how the liberalisation policies of both the Congress and the BJP have dealt a serious blow to the public distribution system during the last one and half decade. She criticised the NDA government’s claim of reducing the poverty. “If you artificially increase the level of poverty line without taking into account the reality, the number game will mislead you.  We have to reject all such claims”, she said. Rehana Sayed drew attention to the  deteriorating health situation in Delhi.(INN)