People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 03, 2007
CPI(M) Organises State Convention On Sachar Committee Recommendations
Mohd Yusuf Tarigami inaugurating the state level convention in Mumbai
“I FEEL a lot of pain when talking about the findings of the Sachar Committee. The condition of Indian Muslims that is outlined in depth in the Sachar Report is a blot on the face of my country. It is not an issue of only 14 per cent of the population. If one community gets victimised, the entire society gets victimised. Muslims do not have positions in various echelons in society. There is no development of Muslim majority areas. Who is responsible for this pathetic condition of the Muslim community?” questioned CPI(M) central committee member, J&K state secretary and MLA, Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami, in his inaugural speech at the statewide convention on the Sachar Committee Recommendations organised by the CPI(M) Maharashtra state committee on May 3, 2007 at Mumbai.
Tracing the journey of the Muslims in Kashmir since independence, he said that inspite of 98 per cent of the population of Kashmir consisting of Muslims, they decided to join secular India where people of all castes and religions would live on the principles of love and humanity. They refused to join Pakistan which was formed solely on the basis of religion. Inspite of this reality, who is responsible for the serious situation in Kashmir today? The Sangh Parivar has carried on a vicious campaign against the Muslims creating suspicions in the minds of the common masses. Their false propaganda of ‘appeasement’ stands exposed by the Sachar committee report. Giving 14 per cent of the population its rightful share of the resources including food does not mean appeasement. At the same time, successive Congress governments have also done very little for the welfare of the Muslim community.
Tarigami appealed to the Muslim community to join the struggles of the worker-peasant-agricultural labourer-dalit-adivasi toiling masses to defeat the sinister plot of the Sangh Parivar. “We will be able to win only when all the deprived and exploited sections join the revolutionary movement. The CPI(M) is the guiding force and I once again call upon the Muslim community to unitedly stand by the Red Flag in their struggle for equality.” With this inspiring speech, Mohd Yusuf Tarigami inaugurated the convention.
A presidium comprising state secretariat member K. L. Bajaj (Mumbai), state committee member Mariam Dhawale (Thane), Prof Mehboob Sayyad (Ahmednagar), Shakeeluddin Badguzer (Nanded) and Aziz Patel (Solapur) was elected. 235 participants from 17 districts of Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Nashik, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Pune, Sangli, Kolhapur, Solapur, Beed, Parbhani, Aurangabad, Nanded, Usmanabad, Nagpur and Amravati attended the convention. A pamphlet on “CPI(M)’s demand charter for the progress of the Muslim community based on the Sachar committee report” was published by the Party state committee in Marathi and Hindi. This booklet is also being published in Urdu.
CPI(M) state secretariat member and Mumbai district secretary Mahendra Singh welcomed the participants and explained the Party’s objective in organising this convention. On behalf of the presidium, K L Bajaj stressed the importance of this convention and the major issues involved.
While addressing the convention, CPI(M) central committee member and state secretary Dr Ashok Dhawale briefly explained the Sachar committee report, with special reference to the condition of Muslims in Maharashtra. The seven member committee headed by Justice Rajinder Sachar took one and a half years to prepare this comprehensive 404-page report. But all previous experience has shown that none of the central governments have taken any concrete steps to improve the situation of the Muslims in the last six decades. And the stark result of this neglect has been reflected in the Sachar Report findings.
The population of Maharashtra is 9.69 crore as per the 2001 census. Muslims constitute 10.6 per cent of this population. The largest number of Muslims in the state reside in eight districts, namely Mumbai city, Mumbai surburban, Thane, Aurangabad, Nashik, Jalgaon, Pune and Nanded. Seventy per cent of Muslims live in the cities. Forty-eight per cent are self-employed. Only 7 per cent are graduates, which is less than half of the general figure. Muslims receive less than 3 to 7 per cent of the total loans that are disbursed in various categories. The share of Muslims in government and PSU employment in the state ranges from just 1.1 per cent to 4.7 per cent. In 1987-88, 35 per cent of the total population in Maharashtra lived below the poverty line. In 2004-05, it reduced marginally to 33 per cent. From 1987-88 to 2004-05 the percentage of Hindus below the poverty line declined from 33 to 28 and for SC-STs it declined from 61 to 43. But during the very same period, the percentage of Muslims below the poverty line actually increased from 48 to 55! All this effectively silences the charge of appeasement of the Muslims falsely raised by the BJP and Shiv Sena.
Sharply condemning the treachery of the Sangh Parivar during the freedom struggle, Ashok Dhawale spoke about the sterling contributions of the Muslims along with people of all other religions, castes and communities since the first war of Indian independence in 1857. The forces opposing the Sachar Committee Report are precisely those who incited the communal riots in Gujarat, Mumbai and other parts of the country and destroyed the Babri Masjid. He also stressed that majority communalism cannot be countered by minority fundamentalism, but only by secularism. A broad and sustained campaign against the aggressive designs of American imperialism, the economic policies of imperialist globalisation and the sinister plans of the communal forces has to be organised. The CPI(M) will be in the forefront of this struggle against economic exploitation and social oppression, and for the implementation of the Sachar recommendations and also for the Party’s comprehensive demand charter.
CPI(M) state committee member and convenor of the
state sub-committee on issues of minorities, Sayeed Ahmed explained in detail
the CPI(M) charter of demands for the development of the Muslim community. He
reminded the participants that the Congress party had not placed the Dr Gopal
Singh report before parliament nearly 25 years ago when it was in power. Now the
Sachar committee report was placed before parliament only because of the
pressure of the Left parties. Asking the participants to enrich the charter of
demands with their experiences, he placed it for discussion.
A total of 24 comrades, which included 7 women (some burkha-clad) participated in the discussion. The participants spoke of the discrimination faced by the community in government offices, educational institutions, hospitals, employment and housing, and the difficulties faced in getting caste certificates and ration cards. Impact of communal tension and an insecure atmosphere were also narrated. Demands were made for an increase in the budgetary allocation for the Maulana Azad economic development board, simplification of the procedure for getting loans, appointment of Urdu teachers and subsidy for mass marriages of Muslim girls as is given for dalits and adivasis. Some of the participants also spoke about the pathetic condition of the women within the Muslim community. The issues of unilateral oral triple talaq and polygamy were also placed. Speakers urged the progressive elements within the Muslim community to speak out against the injustice meted out to Muslim women.
CPI(M) state secretariat member Dr D L Karad stressed on the need to build a society based on equality and justice. He stressed that the discussions on the Sachar committee report should not be restricted only to the Muslims and must be taken to all sections of society.
In the concluding speech, CPI(M) central committee member Kumar Shiralkar said that the Congress is opportunist and not a saviour of the Muslims. The BJP and Shiv Sena run a continuous hate campaign against the Muslims. The BJP callously tries to make political gains by increasing communal tensions. The ruling classes divide the toiling masses along caste and communal lines so that they do not revolt against them. We have to strengthen our struggle against globalisation and communalism. The CPI(M) stands for the progress of all communities. A sub-plan like the one prepared for dalits and adivasis will have to be prepared for the Muslim community. He gave a call for organising district and tehsil conventions on the Sachar report and for conducting a statewide signature campaign on the charter of demands.
Ali Ahmed proposed a vote of thanks. The CPI(M) Mumbai district committee and its volunteers had made very good arrangements for the success of this convention.