Women activists urge Manmohan Singh to implement 33 % reservation for women

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New Delhi, Mar 8 : A delegation of women activists on Saturday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urged him to implement the 33 percent reservation for women in the country's parliament and provincial bodies.

The delegation comprising lawmakers and women activists said that they have been assured that the government is in process of speedy implementation of the bill.

"We were here at the Prime Minister's office to press our demand for social justice and primarily to talk in terms of 33 percent reservation of seats in the state assemblies and parliament for women," said Jyotsna Chatterjee, a women activist.

."His response was very good because he said that they are already considering it and they have been discussing the issue and they hope that during this session of the parliament they will be able to introduce it and he also said that they are hoping for an all-party meeting on March 20. The modalities of how to introduce it will be discussed," she added.

A bill to reserve 33 percent of parliamentary seats for women was introduced a decade ago, but it has not been passed.

Meanwhile, activists of All India Progressive Women Association (AIPWA) staged a demonstration outside parliament to pressurize the government to introduce the bill.

"It is startling to hear today that the women's bill can only be passed after an amendment to the Constitution. The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government has promised us that they have the issue listed in their common minimum programme but now they have done an about turn on that," said Kumudini Pati, AIPWA general secretary.

In another protest taken by women league of Burma in the national capital, the activists demanded freedom from any kind of sexual violation faced by women.

"Today we are protesting here because our country Burma has no democracy. Today we are here as refugees. As you know today is international women's day and in Burma we don't have freedom; we have no rights, so we have come here and we are asking what are our rights and to end sexual violation and any violation," said Neng Boi, a Burmese refugee.

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