TN: CPI(M) Holds ‘Safeguard Scheduled Castes, Tribes Conference’
Yechury greeting the crowd. Image courtesy: CPI(M), Tamil Nadu
"End social oppression. Abandon caste discrimination. Make Tamilnadu secular" are the slogans of the Communist Party of India-Marxist's upcoming campaign, beginning on June 4. The CPI(M) announced this in a multi-party conference to safeguard the rights of tribals and dalits, held on March 16 in Villupuram.
The conference gave a call to abolish caste-based oppression and create a casteless, egalitarian society.
The conference observed that most of India's labour force comprises scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes. Without allowing these people to organise themselves, the caste forces are turning minor problems between them into big riots.
BJP-RSS organisations are encouraging these forces in Tamil Nadu.
It further said the Union government is acting to save the corporate tycoons by using caste and religion to divide the people. In contrast, the people should fight together to save their livelihood.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, DMK leader and Tamil Nadu higher education minister K Ponmudi, CPI(M) state secretary K Balakrishnan, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president KS Alagiri, and Communist Party of India state joint secretary M Veerapandian addressed the gathering.
"If the Constitution, democracy, secularism and people's rights are to be preserved, it is necessary to prevent the BJP from regaining power. Our activities will be tailored accordingly," said Yechury.
Representatives of state-level political parties also participated in the conference. Minister D Ravikumar (Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi), M Senthilathipan (Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), MLA T Velmurugan (Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi) and Durai Chandrasekaran (Dravidar Kazhagam), among others, addressed the gathering.
RIGHT TO LAND
Regarding land, the conference said panchami lands should be recovered and handed over to the dalit people.
Apart from providing land titles to the people living in various types of slums, the Land Ceiling Act should be properly implemented, and all the landless sections of the poor should be given the land it demanded.
Moreover, land deeds should be provided to farmers for land under cultivation.
On employment and job opportunities, the conference said new jobs should be created in line with population growth.
It demanded that all vacant posts in Union, state, and PSUs be filled immediately. It insisted the backlogs of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe positions be filled at once.
Thousands of people participated in the conference. Image courtesy: CPI(M) Tamil Nadu
Legislation should also be enacted to provide reservations in the private sector, urged the conference.
The Union government should allocate the necessary funds for MGNREGA, and according to the law, every family should be guaranteed 200 days of employment/year. Further, Employment Guarantee Scheme should be extended to urban areas as well.
Moreover, CPI(M) demanded the minimum wage for agricultural labourers be raised to Rs 600/day and strictly enforced.
Dalit Christians should be included in the SC list.
The conference resolved to ensure the Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 is strictly implemented to end atrocities on untouchability and demanded that special courts implement the Act.
Leaders of various parties honoured the conference. Image courtesy: CPIM(M), Tamil Nadu
As part of the resolution, the conference demanded that a separate law be enacted to prevent caste-based, indiscriminate killings and crimes.
It insisted that the sanitation sector needs to be modernised if the discriminatory practice of manual scavenging is to be eradicated. It cited that sanitary engineering departments should fbe created in higher education like in other countries.
The Centre and the state should allocate funds for sub-projects according to the respective state's dalit-tribal population, demanded the conference. The funds thus earmarked should be spent only for the development of dalits and tribals. The Tamil Nadu government's announcement that a separate law will be enacted for this purpose should be implemented immediately.
The CPI(M) resolved to fight for the vigorous implementation of the Forest Rights Act of 2006.
Among other resolutions, the conference insisted that caste is anti-science, and this thought should be included in the school curriculum.
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