General secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Prakash Karat has expressed pessimism over the formation of a third front. He said here on Sunday that an anti-communal convention to be held on October 30 in New Delhi was not to seek out possibilities of forming a third front.

“There is no third front now,” he replied to a query on the sidelines of a convention for Muslim rights.

“Around 13 parties will come for the convention, and some want to form a third front. But there has been no progress so far … The convention is only to get together non-Congress secular parties and express our opposition to the rising communalism,” he said.

Mr. Karat believed the convention was all the more relevant now as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had decided to fully back Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate.

At the convention, organised by the local district unit of the party, he said the CPI (M) demanded the immediate implementation of the Sachar Commission report which, among others, suggested 10 per cent reservation for Muslims, sub-plan in the five year plans for minorities.

He also demanded that the communal violence bill — Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill 2011 be implemented to ensure rehabilitation and compensation for riot victims — most of whom, he felt, were from the minorities.

The party was also making a list of Muslims who have been acquitted in terrorism-related cases after having spent more than five years in jail. This report would be presented to the President to press for their demands for accountability of security agencies, compensation and rehabilitation of those arrested.

With the Bharatiya Janata Party appeasing the majority, and the Congress using the minorities as vote banks, the actual issues of the Muslim community would persist, he said.

“For the Congress, Muslims represent votes … for the RSS and the BJP, their version of democracy is the rule of the Hindu majority,” said Mr. Karat.

The party also demanded a separate sub-plan for minorities in the five-year Plan, like the one undertaken for the Scheduled Caste Special Component or Tribal Sub-plan.

Mr. Karat vouched for 10 per cent reservation for Muslims in education and employment. Mr. Karat said issues such as cow slaughter, assaults on Muslims talking to Hindu women and patriarchal notions of women as property were being used to whip up communal tensions and further harass minorities.

He cited the example of Muzaffarnagar, where a case of sexual harassment soon turned into communal violence and more than 50 people died and 40,000 people displaced. At the convention that saw the participation of CPI (M) Karnataka secretary G.V. Sriram Reddy and senior writer Sara Aboobacker, the party’s district unit approved a five-point resolution to guarantee rights to the Muslim community.

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