People's Democracy

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


No. 22

June 03, 2012

Dharna Protests Betrayal on Women’s Bill


A NUMBER of women’s national level organisations, like the AIDMAM, AIDWA, AIWC, CWDS, GOS, JWP, MWF, NFIW and YWCA, along with their Delhi chapters, came together to organise a "call attention dharna" at Sansad Marg, New Delhi on May 22. They expressed their deep disappointment on the continued betrayal by the UPA government and its failure to keep its promise, made in its electoral manifesto, that it would ensure passage of the women’s bill in Lok Sabha. The failure to take positive measures in the direction of strengthening democracy in the country, despite repeated verbal assurances made by its leaders, the prime minister, and by the president herself, has been an injustice to the women of the country.


The women’s organisations reiterated the factual position, emphasising that 33 per cent reservation will empower women by increasing their political representation; will open up new spaces for focussing on gender based discriminations in the political sphere; help to pinpoint the unequal status of women in the society and help fight the underlying prejudices which perpetuate structural as well as gender based inequalities and exclusions.


Maintaining that democracy has to be inclusive and equitable, a demand was made to the UPA government to fulfil its promise and forthwith introduce the bill and allow it to be debated on the floor of Rajya Sabha.


The dharna was attended by eminent members of parliament like D Raja, Jharna Das Baidya and Dr T N Seema, apart from more than 500 women cutting across boundaries of politics and class.


The women’s organisations also adopted a resolution demanding the following:


1) The early passing of the bill for protection of women against sexual harassment.

2) A comprehensive bill to address killings and crimes being perpetrated in the name of "honour" has to be formulated urgently.

3) The law on sexual assault after due amendment to address the multiple dimensions of violence suffered by victims are addressed adequately.

4) The food security act be made a made a universal right by strengthening the public distribution system.