Only dialogue can bring peace in J&K: Sitaram Yechury

Sitaram Yechury  

In a freewheeling conversation with Vikas Pathak , CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury questions the Centre's policy on Kashmir and discusses the ongoing Dalit uprising in Gujarat.

What is your opinion about where the Kashmir crisis is headed?

Forty-five days of curfew is unprecedented and should end. Where the situation is headed will depend on the government. If they see it as only a law and order problem, I think it will be a very serious situation. Political dialogue must start and confidence-building measures announced immediatelt.

What are your views on the govt.’s response till now?

The PMO put out a statement after the delegation of Opposition party leaders met the Prime Minister. There he spoke for the first time about finding a lasting solution or lasting peace. But how? You can have it only through a political dialogue with all stakeholders.

Mr. Jaitley took a hard line against stone-pelters a day before Mr. Modi made a gesture for lasting peace. What are your views on this?

Is the government running with the hare and hunting with the hounds – what the Finance Minister said and what the PMO put out? I gave an example in Parliament. A vulture smells blood and swoops down to the ground to feed on the carcass. The blood is being spilt. Vultures from across the border are feeding. But first address why this blood is being spilt here.

How do you see the unprecedented wave of Dalit protests in Gujarat, politically and socially?

A large number of people congregated in Una. It is not just that it is happening in Gujarat. This is a reflection of the Dalits who are in revolt against oppression.

Dalits have announced that they will stop skinning dead carcasses and doing manual scavenging. They demand redistribution of land to them. We support it. For, eventually the answer to ending caste oppression is to economically empower Dalits.

There has been traditional talk about economic empowerment of Dalits and there is an alternative Dalit politics addressing cultural hurt, emotions, pride, etc. How do you adjust your class approach to this ‘identitarian’ turn?

In India there is not caste-vs-class. There is a caste-class overlap. The majority of agricultural labourers and the most exploited workers in India are Dalits. The class struggle in India stands on two feet – one is economic exploitation and the other is social oppression. If the class struggle has to advance, both these legs have to start walking.

So, should Dalits be seen as lower classes or as a distinctive cultural group?

There is a cultural identity issue with Dalits. It is a welcome thing – a literature and culture of rebellion against social oppression. But the problem of social oppression cannot be solved only by advancing identity issues.

It can be solved primarily by economic empowerment and, along with that, identity issues will also be important. So, the solution to the problem of caste oppression is not an identity issue. For us, it is a class issue.

Mr. Achuthanandan spoke against economist Gita Gopinath being appointed an adviser to the Kerala Chief Minister. Any comments?

It is for the Kerala government to decide.

The Kerala government is committed to its election manifesto and that is the policy it is taking.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 10:46:44 PM |

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