Fernandes rubbishes media reports of staying in Dharamsala servant quarters

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New Delhi, July 21 (ANI): Former Defence Minister and socialist leader George Fernandes has rubbished media reports of being put up in a servant's quarters during a recent visit to Dharamsala to meet officials of the exiled Tibetan Government.

In an article for the socialist journal "The Other Side", Fernandes said that in early June, he received an invitation from two Tibetan friends - Tempa Tsering, a Minister in the Tibetan government-in-exile, and Dolma Gyari, the Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament,-- to spend some time in Dharamsala.

He said that contrary to media reports, he was put up in "beautiful rooms in the State Circuit House" and was provided with three cars, including a pilot car by the Himachal Pradesh Government for "what people call a holiday".

"I am not good at sightseeing, so I was a little worried about what I would do there until it became clear that I could refresh memories of my involvement with the Tibetan people's movement for the past fifty years... I cannot understand how such foolish news finds its way into print. Not only was this untrue, but it was obviously put out by someone who does not understand my ideological background," writes Fernandes.

""Even if I had been put up in servant's quarters, which was not a fact, I would have been perfectly happy. In fact, I have often told my colleagues that I would like to live in the garage of 3, Krishna Menon Marg, which is my address for the past 20 years, so that the main big house could be used for work and poor visitors who have no place to stay in New Delhi," he added.

Fernandes said that the news that he was asked to stay in servants' quarters "was insulting to my Tibetan hosts who did so much to make my stay in Dharamsala memorable."

In the same journal, Jaya Jaitly launches a stinging criticism of the Women's Reservation Bill in its present form, saying that it has many flaws "related more to its implementation".

"There are strong arguments for and against the rotational system, double member constituencies, reservations within parties instead of in seats in Parliament, and increasing the number of seats in parliament. All these, deserve a healthy and lengthy debate in Parliament and outside before the Bill is passed," she writes.

She further says that the average Indian woman should have the freedom to extend her capabilities outside the house, and that the backward caste bias displayed by persons like Sharad Yadav has little basis and should be discouraged.

She concludes by saying that in "India, the woman is constantly challenged because she is not just a victim of a highly disparate society, but because there exists layers of cultural and social systems through which women have to negotiate their space." (ANI)

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