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PDP willing to amend controversial bill

March 08, 2004 21:58 IST
Last Updated: March 08, 2004 21:58 IST

The People's Democratic Party, which heads the ruling coalition in Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday expressed willingness to amend the J&K Permanent Resident (Disqualification) Bill, which disqualifies women marrying outsiders from inheriting immovable property in the state.

"The PDP is willing to amend the bill to remove the gender anomalies in its present form," party president Mehbooba Mufti said in Srinagar. "The bill is gender specific and this might be its shortcoming. It needs to be amended, but we cannot allow to change the identity of the state."

She was noncommittal on ally Congress' stand that the bill be referred to a select committee of the assembly. "The bill will be discussed in the Upper House and only there a decision will be taken whether to refer it to a select committee," she said.

The National Conference, which is against the bill, has a majority in the Upper House and if put to vote, the bill would be defeated.

"There is nothing new in the bill, which is 75 years old... our government has only clarified it," Mehbooba said.

The sensitivities of the majority of the state should be taken into consideration, she added. "Let us not think about a few elite women who have married outside the state. We have to know what the middle-class women want. What the majority of the Kashmiris want."

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