Convene special session on Dalits: CPI(M)

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Wednesday demanded a special session of Parliament to discuss issues relating to the status of the Scheduled Castes, with party general secretary Prakash Karat saying that since all parties have pledged to observe the 125th birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar, they should have no problem in convening such a session.

The 21st Party Congress here adopted a resolution to this effect at a time when the party’s political-organisational report has found it wanting in championing Dalit causes.

An effort appears to be afoot to rectify this by including a Scheduled Caste member in the Polit Bureau. In its 50 years of existence, the Polit Bureau has never had a Dalit.

Mr. Karat indicated that such a move was afoot. Asked why the CPI(M), which prided itself to be a progressive party, had never had a Dalit in the Polit Bureau, he said: “Wait for the Polit Bureau and the Central Committee to be reconstituted and then you can criticise.”

The two highest decision-making bodies of the party will be recast by the weekend towards the close of the Congress.

Special session

Explaining the rationale for demanding a special session, Mr. Karat said: “Since all parties have pledged to observe the anniversary, they should have no problem in convening a special session to discuss issues relating to the Scheduled Castes to take stock of the impact of the various laws enacted for their uplift.”

Among the issues the party will like to discuss at the special session are quotas for Dalit Muslims and Christians. “A special session would ensure that the attention of the entire country is focussed on this shameful scourge of the Indian society — inequality on the basis of birth and descent — and on the urgent need to take comprehensive and strong measures to eliminate it,” the resolution moved by Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said.

The Congress urged the party to integrate struggles against social and caste-based discrimination with the class struggle and encourage inter-caste marriages.

Some work has begun on this front with the Democratic Youth Federation of India running a matrimonial website in Kerala for “secular marriages”, including inter-caste alliances.

The Congress adopted another resolution against the land acquisition Bill, which the CPI(M) calls the “land grab Bill.”

Reiterating the party’s stated position on the Bill, the resolution, moved by Central Committee member Hannan Mollah, asks why the government was shying away from the consent clause if the proposed legislation is so beneficial to farmers.

By an assessment made by the party, the provision of allowing one kilometre to be acquired along national and State highways and railway lines would take away 31.9 per cent of the total cultivated land, adversely affecting food security.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 10:08:33 PM |

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