Row Over Bill Denying Rights To Women Marrying Outside J&K13 March 2010
Times of India
Jammu: Opposition parties, led by the BJP, staged a walkout from J&K assembly on Saturday in protest against a private member's bill seeking to debar women of their right to property and jobs if they marry someone from outside the state. PDP legislator Murtaza Khan had introduced the Permanent Resident (Disqualification) Bill on March 8 and government accepted it at introduction level. The PDP argues that the bill 'would save identity of the state's women'. The party maintains that state's special status under Article 370 would be undermined if women marrying non-state subjects retain their citizenship rights. 'The bill discriminates against the women,' said BJP leader Chaman Lal Gupta. J&K National Panther's Party and other Jammu-based parties echoed BJP and raised slogans and created noisy scenes for about 20 minutes before leaving the House. Gupta said the bill was anti-Jammu and anti-women and would deprive girls' of ancestral rights to own land, property and jobs if they marry outside the state. JKNPP leader Harshdev Singh said a bill aimed at amending the state's Constitution can't be introduced in the Upper House. 'Every bill has to go through Assembly for its passage.' Law and parliamentary affairs minister Ali Mohammed Sagar rejected the opposition's objections. 'There is no violation of the Constitution as any member can introduce a private members bill.' He avoided answering questions whether the ruling National Conference supported the bill, saying its fate would be decided after a discussion. 'The opposition is making a hue and cry before the measure is debated.'