An all India platform for Dalits will be formed in the month of November. It has become all the more important for the communists to organize the Dalits and intensify their struggle for social justice as the rightwing BJP is trying to legitimize caste oppression in the name of Hindutva. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member K Varadarajan said this on September 7 in Agartala while speaking at a seminar at Nazrul Kalakshetra organized by the Tripura Tapasili Jati Samanway Samiti.
The theme of the seminar was the Relevance of Dalit movement and organization in the present Indian politics. It was organized in connection with the 8th state conference of the Tripura Tapasili Jati Samanway Samiti which will be held in Teliamurra from 13th to 15th September.
Varadarajan announced that the All India Dalit Soshon Mukti Manch will be formed at a convention to be held in Delhi on 27th November. He said, Tripura has been the pioneer in the Party in organizing the Dalits and the Dalits and Tribal people in Tripura are in a much better condition compared to other states of the country. Stressing upon the duty of the communists in organizing the Dalits for social justice he invoked what EMS Namboodiripad had said in 1979. EMS had said, “One has to remember that building of India on modern democratic and secular lines requires an uncompromising struggle against the caste based Hindu society and its culture. There is no question of secular democracy, not to speak of socialism unless the very citadel of India’s ‘age old’ civilization and culture, the division of society into a hierarchy of castes is broken. In other words, the struggle for radical democracy and socialism cannot be separated from the struggle against caste society.”
Varadarajan mentioned how even after 67 years of independence caste oppression in different forms are continuing on the Dalits in Tamilnadu, AP and Telangana. A survey has revealed that at least 148 types of untouchability and related social oppressions are still in existence. Dalits are even barred from wearing chappals or riding bicycles on the roads, Dalit women can’t fetch water from the same tap where upper caste women also collect water. He said these atrocious conditions have been in vogue in the name of religion. BJP leaders are now trying to legitimize the Chaturvarna system.
Talking of the pitiable conditions of the dalits he said, SCs and STs form almost 25% of the population but 35.4% of the Dalits live below the poverty line. More than 70% of them are landless, 75% of the Dalit girls leave school before passing class V. Rules of reservation for Dalits in education and job are not followed in most of the states and even these provisions are now sought to be diluted by the BJP govt. Likewise they want to further dilute and weaken the provisions of the laws related to atrocities against dalits where only 10% of the cases are registered and conviction is merely 5%.
Varadarajan said the caste system and oppression on Dalits get patronization from the landlords, who continue to hold sway in the countryside. So struggle for social justice must link itself with the struggle for redistribution of lands.
President of the seminar and president of Tripura Tapasili Jati Samanway Samiti, Anil Sarkar said, despite being in overwhelming majority of the population the SCs, STs and OBCs are deprived from their due share in land, jobs, and administration. This anomaly has to be done away with. State SC welfare minister Ratan Bhowmik and Sudhan Das, General Secretary of Tripura Tapasili Jati Samanway Samiti also spoke.