Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat has called for the abolition of the caste system in the country.

He was inaugurating here on Sunday a State-level convention of the Scheduled Castes’ Colony Association, which owes its allegiance to the CPI (M). Mr. Karat said that bourgeois parties wanted to perpetuate the caste system for sustaining vested interests. Such parties even mobilised votes on the basis of caste. This would only perpetuate the caste system. The Scheduled Castes (SCs) should not fall prey to such machinations, he said.

The CPI (M) leader said there were forces among the SCs that advocated identity on petty considerations. This approach led to fragmentation of the Dalit community with one sub-caste getting pitted against another and this weakened their fight for social justice. A narrow identity caste system would also perpetuate it. “The question of Dalit emancipation is part of the Left and democratic movement,” he added.

He said the two-decade-old neoliberal policies had affected the SCs. “Through such policies, the right to reservation is getting curtailed as more and more sectors are getting privatised. In the coming days, access to jobs is going to become a major problem for them.”`

Following pressure from the Left parties, the first United Progressive Alliance government had said laws would be enacted to extend the reservation system to the private sector. But no such move had been made so far.

He alleged that governments were not utilising the funds for SC welfare. There should be statutory backing for such funds not getting diverted or lapsed. In Andhra Pradesh, such a backing had become a reality. “We have to fight to ensure that this happens at the level of the Union government too.”

Mr. Karat said recent studies had showed that 45 to 50 per cent of the villages in India were denying water, burial grounds, saloons, laundry facilities, and roads to the Dalits.

‘Bourgeois parties want to perpetuate caste system for sustaining vested interests’