Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat on Tuesday said reports of certain news agencies on his speech in London were “inaccurate in parts and misleading.”

Referring to certain reports of his speech at the memorial conference for Victor Kiernan in Cambridge, Mr. Karat said some agencies had quoted him as saying that the Left parties in India committed “a historical blunder” in not recognising the role played by caste in politics and society. They also reported that he said Communists were “stuck in the Forties” as far as their theory and practice were concerned.

“I wish to make it clear that these remarks attributed to me are neither correct nor accurate,” Mr. Karat said in a statement. As far as caste was concerned, he had said: “We should understand both in theory and practice how class structure in India is influenced by and integrated with structures of hierarchy, discrimination and oppression that are particular to Indian society reflected for instance in caste system.”

Stating that Communists recognised the role of caste in the socio-economic formations in India, the statement said, was far from saying what was attributed to him.

Contrary to saying that Communists were stuck in the Forties, what he pointed out was: “The bulk of the support for the Communist Party even today comes from the movement areas and outlying region, where mainly in the 1941 to 1948 period the Communists succeeded in bringing together and leading the two main historical currents of people's struggles — the struggle against the colonial power and the struggle of the rural masses for freedom from exploitation. Thus where the Communists brought the anti-imperialist and anti-landlord movements together and gave leadership to this united struggle, they gained mass support. Tebhaga (Bengal), North Malabar (Kerala), the tribal struggle (Tripura) the Telangana struggle are some instances,” the statement said.

Mr. Karat said he concluded by saying that the agenda of the Forties such as land reforms and struggle for land was still being pursued by Communists.

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