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Voices for Choice: Kranthi Ireland

As the campaign for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum intensifies in its final week, a debate on the issue was hosted by Malayalam, a cultural association made up mostly of Indians living in Ireland, took place in Clondalkin, West Dublin on Sunday.

A variety of those from both sides of the debate were in attendance, one of those being Varghese Joy, President of Kranthi Ireland, a cultural and political association for Indians in Ireland. Kranthi Ireland are in favour of, and campaigning for, a Yes vote in the referendum to repeal the eighth amendment, Joy told LookLeft, as well as giving his perspective on the views of the Indian community in Ireland on the issue.

In India, abortion was criminalised by British colonial law. It became legalised in under the MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) Act in 1971,” Joy says. The MTP Act allows for abortion up to twenty weeks in the case that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury of physical or mental health. “Abortion is not an issue in India,” Joy continues.

When asked about how Indians living in Ireland feel about our abortion ban, Joy states that the “Indian community is divided” over the issue, although the members of “Kranthi are for repeal of the eighth amendment.” “We have been working with other leftist organisations such as the Workers’ Party and Solidarity in this campaign, as well campaigning amongst the Indian community for a Yes vote,” he says.

Workers’ Party representative for Lucan/Palmerstown David Gardiner speaking at the debate hosted by Malayalam

Following the referendum, Joy says that Kranthi will still be working alongside leftist and women’s organisations, noting that “laws following the referendum should allow doctors to facilitate the termination of a pregnancy.”

Joy’s message to all of those who are still undecided about how they’ll be voting on May 25th, be they members of the Indian community or not, is to trust women. “This referendum is all about a woman’s dignity” he says, before commenting that we must “think about the women living in this country” as we go to the polls next Friday.

“We as a society should trust women,” Joy concluded.

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