A six hour session in parliament and a threat-SMS (short message service) delivered to a supposedly non-supportive MP would sum-up the importance accorded to the Domestic Violence bill.
Although a hugely supported bill as far as the National Assembly (NA) is concerned a misinformed supporter of the bill who presumed Trongsa MP Rinchen Dorji for a non-supporter sent a threatening SMS to the MP.
The Trongsa MP comically said he supported the bill not because of the text message but for the welfare of the people.
The discussion following the brief moment of laughter delved into a most longish six hour discussion.
MP Karma Lhamo who is also the chairperson of the NCWC said having Protection Officers in every Dzongkhags would be convenient as not all the victims prefer the police force.
“It is from the victim’s voice,” said MP Karma Lhamo.
Deputy Speaker Yangku Tshering Sherpa said if rules and regulation are followed, there won’t be inconveniences. However with regard to the protection officers he said local problems will be known by only by Gups and Mangmis whereas others won’t understand.
The establishment of Women and Children Protection Unit (WCPU) at every point was also discussed at length.
Labor Minister Dorji Wangdi said it would require more number of police force and at least two people, one each for men and women to deal with the situations.
The Gasa MP Damcho Dorji said Police did the best they could but now the government has to address the problem, “and also there is a chance people will think there is no political will”.
Some MPs said in places like Thimphu and Phuentsholing, such units are required but for other places there is need for proper study to determine the requirement of such units.
“More budget, more manpower and also facilities will be involved and government will need more revenue for that,” said health minister Zangley Dukpa.
“Rather than implementing WCPU in every dzongkhag, it will be appropriate to make use of existing police station,” the Punakha MP said. “Instead of many options, one station to complain would be convenient.”
Few MPs among which Opposition Leader (OL) Tshering Tobgay was one said it is more important to put the service in place.
“In the absence of the unit, victim would hesitate and won’t know where to go,” said the OL.
Agriculture minister said a broader picture should be taken into account and not manpower and facilities. “We have to think about future as well as present,” said Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho.
Education minister Thakur Singh said the bill does not state new requirement of the manpower but identification from the existing manpower based on experiences or the one who is capable.
The bill will be passed tomorrow.