NATIONAL

CPI(M) ready for dialogue with church: Karat

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, AUG. 14 . The Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member, Prakash Karat, has said that his party is ready for a dialogue with the church on issues of common concern, but asserted that the CPI(M) is against any form of fundamentalism and profiteering in the name of minority rights.

`Positive development'

In an interview to The Hindu here on Friday, Mr. Karat said there was a national trend of various Christian denominations to talk to the CPI(M) and invite its leaders to the forums of the church. He described as a "positive development" the attempt being made by the church in Kerala to "soften the edges" of its relations with the Left and the CPI(M).

"Although the Christian community in Kerala is not weak, they have been the targets of attacks. The CPI(M) has been firm in defending the community from such attacks irrespective of the ideological differences between the church and the party," he said. "Even when we support the minorities, we are opposed to giving sustenance to any form of fundamentalism or revivalism and causing deprivation to the common people in the name of religion. So, while there are areas where there could be a dialogue, we want the church to also look at various practices. For instance, the approach to education. There is a clear difference between running an educational institution and profiteering from an educational institution. In short, there are secular concerns on which there could be a dialogue," Mr. Karat said.

On the criticism that the CPI(M) was maintaining a cosy relationship with certain fundamentalist Muslim organisations while opposing the relatively moderate Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the CPI(M) leader said the opposition to the Muslim League was basically because it was `in political contest' with the CPI(M). The party, he said, had always dealt with the League "on political terms." The other organisations do not exactly come into that area.

"It might look as though there are no contradictions between the CPI(M) and such organisations, but it was not so. For instance, on the question of triple talaq. While we stand for the legitimate rights of the minorities, we cannot compromise on questions of civil rights (and) equality. While we would defend the rights of the minorities, we would not surrender these to any backward-looking outfit," he said.

Recommended for you