Hyderabad advocates push for female polling staff to verify ‘veiled voters’

Hyderabad Desk

Hyderabad: In a bid to uphold the principles of democracy and ensure the inclusivity of all voters, prominent High Court advocates Afsar Jahan and Qudsia Tabassum have forwarded a proposal concerning pardanasheen or veiled women to the Chief Electoral Officer of Telangana.

Citing concerns over the vulnerability of certain sections of the electorate, particularly burqa wearing women, the advocates have urged the deployment of women polling staff in all polling stations across the state during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on May 13, 2024.

The proposal, rooted in a deep understanding of the prevailing socio-economic dynamics and electoral challenges, aims to mitigate the threat of intimidation and ensure the unhindered participation of every eligible voter.

Advocate Afsar Jahan highlighted, “Inclusivity is the cornerstone of democracy. We must take proactive measures to address the concerns of vulnerable voters and safeguard their rights.”

The advocates’ proposal aligns with the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) concerning the verification of identity for veiled women, thus preserving both their modesty and right to vote.

Additionally, in cases where veiled women may feel uncomfortable revealing their faces in the presence of male officials, the proposal suggests providing a discreet enclosure within polling stations where their identity can be verified by female polling staff.

“This initiative underscores our commitment to upholding the democratic values of fairness and equality,” stated Advocate Qudsia Tabassum, highlighting the importance of ensuring 100% voter turnout among veiled women.

The proposal has garnered widespread support from various quarters, including civil rights organizations, underscoring its potential to foster greater inclusivity and transparency in the electoral process.

As Telangana prepares for the upcoming elections, all eyes are on the Chief Electoral Officer as stakeholders await a response to this pivotal proposal, which could shape the future of democratic participation in the state.

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