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Reservation Quota for Women in Parliament finds support at Kumaon Literature Festival

Speaking at a packed session of the festival's second edition here, women speakers flayed the stalling of the bill that grants 33 percent reservation to women in parliament

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October 13, 2016: Support for reservation quota for women in parliament found its resonance on Thursday among participants at the ongoing Kumaon Literature Festival as well.

Speaking at a packed session of the festival’s second edition here, women speakers flayed the stalling of the bill that grants 33 percent reservation to women in parliament.

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“Issues regarding Women’s Reservation Bill need to be discussed across all parties, especially those opposing it so that it gets passed in the Lok Sabha,” said Nupur Sharma, a young leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“It should be the responsibility of each political party to allocate one-third of their tickets to women candidates,” Sharma said.

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“Merely increasing the numbers alone will not do any good; there is a desperate need for good quality women leaders in the country,” added author-columnist Tuhin Sinha.

She said there have been good women leaders at the regional and national levels, but the phenomenon has not trickle down much.

“Women’s journey into politics should be by default and not designed, because when you reserve a particular number of seats by rotation, it will encourage more nepotism, and produce leaders without quality and may also give rise to dynasty rule,” Tuhin said.

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TV commentator Abhay Kumar Dubey said the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill will prove to be a game changer for women, society and the nation.

“It is high time men stop sitting on a high pedestal and explain how and what women should do in politics,” said Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi.

“The entire society is responsible for handling women’s isues; it is not women politicians’ responsibility alone to bring about a change in the mindset of people regarding their issues and their route to politics,” Chaturvedi said.

Another session on ‘In Crisis We Act’ saw the participation of All India Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi.

A session on ‘My Lords, I Rest My Case’ witnessed participation of Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Supreme Court Justice A.K. Sikri, with the latter discussing how judiciary influences literature and how writing of judgments is drawn from the literary world.

In the session on ‘A Compulsive Questionnaire,” Carnatic musician-cum-author T.M. Krishna spoke.

“Artistes are now bent upon performing in such a manner that it satisfies everybody in the audience; this is merely marketing of art and not sharing, which is the original intention of art,” he said. (IANS)

(Rachel V.Thomas is in Jim Corbett at the invitation of the Kumaon Literature Festival organisers. She can be contacted at rachel.t@ians.in)

 

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BJP Offers Christians a Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Is Religious Pilgrimage A New Playground For The Political Parties?

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community

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In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
  • The political parties (BJP and Congress ) are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage in the coming local elections of the eastern states of India
  • The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively
  • After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022

The Campaign promises during the elections times are quite bizarre nowadays, from “I’ll cut your taxes,” to “vote for me, and I’ll set you free.”

In the coming local elections in the Christian- majority state of Nagaland in India the agenda by the rival BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and Congress parties are unique: “Vote for us and get either a free or a heavily subsidized pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”

Yes, you read it right. The political parties are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage. The offer has been put up by the Prime Minister Modi- led BJP for the upcoming elections. Even the local partners of the Congress party are treading up the same path.

Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons
Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons

The BJP has not made it clear yet if it is offering the scheme to all of India’s Christians, or only to Christians in the northeast, or only to Christians in Nagaland. The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively. Nagaland is one of smallest states of India, with the population of just under two million people.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

As per the Tourism Ministry figures, around 58,000 Indian tourists came to Israel in 2017, a 47% increase from 2015.

The elections are scheduled for the February 27 in three northeastern states – Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura – later this month.

The AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi also tweeted on the double standard of the government and lashed out at the government for its discriminatory decision, ending Haj subsidy but allowing subsidies to continue for Hindu pilgrimages like the Mansarovar Yatra.

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community. But recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. The government cited the reason for the subsidy withdrawal as they wanted to utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls. After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022.

Also Read: Government ends Haj subsidy as part of a new policy

The scheme is a clear cut example of hypocrisy and opportunism, especially considering the cancellation of Haj subsidies. It seems quite contrary, on the one hand, the government is cutting down the benefit scheme for one section of the society and on the other hand, some other community is been offered the same thing. Such moves bring out the double standards of the political parties just for the sake of vote bank. In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented.

In 2011, Nigeria also did something same as that of India. For many years, their government financed a trip to Mecca for Muslims, leading to some 42,000 Nigerians visiting the country. But with the change in the government, subsidies have been cut considerably and now a 12-day pilgrimage costs around 2000 dollars. The change in stance has resulted in 78% decrease from 2011.