March 2004 News

Women's Bill 'ignored' On Women's Day

8 March 2004
The Hindu

Srinagar: Even as the whole country seems to be involved in the issue of the Women's Disqualification Bill passed by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Friday, women in the State remained silent on the subject on Monday - observed the worldover as Women's Day. Apart from being debated at a couple of meetings organised to mark the day, the issue did not come up for discussion in the Kashmir Valley. In fact, the politicising of the issue by political parties ahead of the elections has further distanced women from the issue. 'We did observe the day at M.A. Road Women's College but the issue was not discussed,' said Nusrat Andrabi, a litterateur, who is not much concerned over the passing of the Bill. 'I do not feel it has to do with the rights of women alone as it applies to even men in the State in that they too cannot sell their property... ' said Ms. Andrabi. A senior officer in the Government who did not want to be identified said: 'It has nothing to do [with] women's rights and [a] false propaganda has [been] unleashed... It is unfortunate that the issue is being used as part of election campaigning.' Qurratul Ain, who teaches political science at Kothibagh Higher Secondary School, said, 'this is [an] assault on women in a male-dominated society.' The parties in this 'drama are drawing political mileage out of it.' Maintaining that the Bill was vague, she wanted to know why there was no restriction on men who married outside the State. Asked to comment on the issue, the Democratic Freedom Party chief, Shabir Shah, who had riticised the High Court judgment in the issue, said: 'Mein Aap Ko Kal Batauoon Ga (I will tell you tomorrow.' Farhat Jabeen, one of the daughters of another separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani, is married to an 'Indian citizen' from Sahranpur, Uttar Pradesh. Mr. Geelani was not available for comments.


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