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Giant step for emancipation of women: PM

New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday described the historic women’s reservation bill as a ‘giant step for emancipation of women’ and ‘a celebration of our womanhood’.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha just before the voting, he said: ‘It (bill) is a momentous occasion in the long journey of empowering women that began at the dawn of freedom.’

He also thanked opposition leaders for their cooperation in the passage of the bill.

The prime minister, who spoke extempore, began by expressing his regret to the chair for the incidents that preceded the debate when some MPs repeatedly disrupted the proceedings Monday and Tuesday.

‘I express the government’s profound apology for the disrespect shown to you,’ he said, while looking at the Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari, who is also the vice president.

On Monday, a handful of Rajya Sabha MPs tore up the bill and hurled the pieces at Ansari for moving the bill. On Tuesday, seven MPs were suspended for causing further disruptions.

The prime minister spoke at the end of a lively debate that began after marshals cleared the house of the suspended MPs who refused to leave.

–Indo-ASian News Service

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