March 8th, 2010
09:50 AM ET

Pro-women's bill protest shuts down Indian parliament

Angry protests disrupted India's parliament several times Monday over a landmark but contentious bill aimed at reserving one-third of seats for women in federal and state legislatures.

India's governing party, the main Hindu nationalist opposition party, and the Communists came together in a bid to push the long-pending legislation through the upper house of parliament on International Women's Day.

But a small group of politicians opposed to what is commonly referred to as the "women's reservation bill" fought it tooth and nail. Critics of the bill, which was first introduced more than a decade ago, have been demanding a sub-quota for the most disadvantaged women and for Muslim women.

Slogan-shouting lawmakers from at least two regional groupings, the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, forced several adjournments of the chamber Monday.

The two parties announced withdrawal of their support from the government coalition over their row, and their leaders marched on India's sandstone parliament building along side party members in protest.

The protests forced the upper house to suspend its activity for the day, so the earliest the bill could pass is now Tuesday, when the session resumes.  Political analysts said the small but fierce opposition to bill was a sign of a duel between the country's regional and national politicians.

Post by:
Filed under: World
soundoff (No Responses)

Comments are closed.