People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIII

No. 52

December 27, 2009

UP CONVENTION ON SC/ST ISSUES

 

AIAWU Plans Demos at District HQs

 

THE Uttar Pradesh unit of the All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) recently organised a state level convention on the problems facing the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe people in the state. Held in the Ganga Prasad Memorial Hall in Aminabad, Lucknow, the convention had had a two-member presidium comprising Ambika Prasad Mishra and Ram Baran.

AIAWU general secretary A Vijayaraghavan inaugurated the convention, detailing how the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe people still faced blatant discrimination in the country, even after 62 years of independence, because of the pro-bourgeois and pro-landlord policies of the successive governments. Social and economic equality still elude this section of our people who are facing barbaric oppression day in and day out. The speaker held the Congress party and its governments mainly responsible for blocking the socio-economic progress of the SC/ST people by keeping them deprived of ownership of land, which is the main factor of production in the countryside. On the contrary, Vijayaraghavan said, the SC/ST people have been the biggest beneficiaries of radical land reforms effected in the Left led states of west Bengal, Tripura and Kerala where cases of social oppression have been rare during the past several decades.

The speaker also flayed the BSP government in UP, saying that this government, led by a dalit woman, has miserably failed to protect the dalit mass from atrocities. On the other hand, taking advantage of the state government’s failure, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been flaunting pro-dalit credentials, which is nothing but political gimmickry.

Comparing the situation of the SC/ST people in Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, the AIAWU general secretary said while dalits in Kerala are highly literate, Uttar Pradesh is a laggard state in this regard. In Kerala, the CPI(M) led Left Democratic Front government is getting low-cost houses constructed for the socially and economically weak sections of society at Rs 1,25,000 per dwelling unit and is also providing every dalit landless family a half acre plot despite being excessively deficient in the matter of land availability. Vijayaraghavan then demanded that the government of UP too must provide cultivable land and homestead plots to all such families. He urged upon the AIAWU cadres to unleash militant struggles on the problems facing the dalit, poor, landless and agricultural worker mass in the state.

Addressing the convention, CPI(M) state secretary S P Kashyap said the collusion of the state machinery with the dominant landlord class in rural areas is the main reason if the cases of atrocities against dalit population are still continuing, or even increasing, in various parts of the country. Severely lambasting the Sangh Parivar, BJP and other Hindutva forces as well as the casteist formations, Kashyap said that the agricultural worker and dalit sections need to come into the mainstream of class struggle in order to fight their tormentors.

AIAWU joint secretary Suneet Chopra demanded that the central and state governments must take effective steps to check the perpetration of anti-dalit crimes whose graph is on the rise. Quoting facts and figures, Chopra said an anti-dalit crime is being committed every 18 minutes in one or another part of the country. On an average, two dalits are being murdered and 11 are being subjected to beating every day. Three dalit women are being raped every day and five dalit houses are being put to fire every week. The number of crimes against dalit masses increased from 27,070 in 2006 to 30,031 in 2007. Chopra also gave disaggregated data to show that Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for about 20 per cent of the crimes committed against the tribal and dalit sections. He also condemned the government for having weakened and making more ineffective the SC-ST act by incorporating certain retrograde changes in it.

UP Kisan Sabha secretary Dina Nath Singh greeted the convention on behalf of his organisation and stressed the pivotal need of an alliance of agricultural workers with the peasant population in the country. He said the All India Kisan Sabha solidly stood with the dalit, landless and agricultural worker people in their struggles on social and economic issues.  

AIAWU state secretary Brij Lal Bharti moved the draft of resolution in the convention and Ramjag, former MLA, seconded it. A number of delegates from various districts debated the draft, detailed the struggles conducted in their respective districts on the issues facing the dalit and tribal sections, and advanced suggestions about how to take these struggles further forward. After the AIAWU general secretary replied to the points raised by the delegates, the convention unanimously passed the resolution by voice vote, amid applauses.

Through this resolution, the convention has decided that there would be a two-months long awareness campaign on dalit-tribal issues in the state, during which period there will also be organised community dinners and other similar actions, followed by militant dharnas and demonstrations at all the district headquarters on February 10 coming.