People's Democracy

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


No. 39

September 29, 2013






Overcome Alienation to Isolate Divisive Forces


Below we reproduce the text of the speech delivered by Manik Sarkar, the chief minister of Tripura, at the 16th meeting of the National Integration Council on September 23, 2013.


THE National Integration Council which is being convened at a time when communal strife has been reported in some parts of the country. I hope that the meeting would provide an opportunity to assess the situation and take effective measures for restoring communal harmony in all parts of the country.


Ours is a diverse, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious society. From times immemorial, the people belonging to different religions, castes and creed have been living together in peace and harmony. Tolerance, peaceful coexistence and universal brotherhood are key features of our rich cultural heritage. However, there have been disturbing developments from time to time, with fundamentalist forces raising their ugly heads in some parts of the country. In a multi-religious country like ours, the minorities need to be protected and they should feel fully secure to profess and practise their faith without intimidation. While all the religious communities enjoy equal rights under the constitution, community which forms the majority has a larger responsibility to create a sense of security in the minorities to preserve the secular fabric of the nation. Religion is purely a personal affair without patronage of the state. But the mixing of political interests with religions is one of the main and major causes of communal violence.


I would urge upon the government of India and the various states to firmly deal with any communal disturbances in the country with strong hand within the existing legal framework which is adequate enough to deal with any law and order situation provided the state takes timely, stern and non-partisan measures to contain the communal violence. The perpetrators of communal violence shall not be allowed to escape from their culpability.


In times of communal strife, the advent of new mode of communication like internet have complicated the problems as the divisive forces have been able to use the network for spreading ill-will and hatred through social networking sites. Misuse of this innovation should be checked effectively.


The prevalence of communal disharmony, ethnic violence and left wing extremism should not be seen merely as law and order problem alone. The widening gap between the rich and the poor and denial of basic amenities like food, shelter, education and employment opportunities are likely to cause social tensions and increases the sense of deprivation and alienation among these sections of people. It is in this context that the need for removal of uneven development and push for even development of all regions and all sections of the people is required. The disadvantaged sections like scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, weaker sections and minorities should be shown positive and affirmative action in development.


I would like to emphasize the under development of the north eastern states. Even now, north eastern states lag far behind in basic infrastructure which is critical for economic development. For removal of this uneven and under development of the north east, development of road, rail, air connectivity, telecommunications, irrigation and power including its evacuation should be accorded highest priority so as to put the north eastern states on a high growth trajectory to enable them to catch up with the rest of the country in development. This may obviously help to remove the sense of deprivation and alienation of the people of this region which has been exploited by the divisive and secessionist forces.


The government had constituted the Rajinder Sachar committee in 2005 for recommending measures for social, economic and education development of Indian Muslims. Similarly, the Ranganath Mishra commission was constituted in 2004 for giving recommendation on various issues concerning linguistic and religious minorities in India. The government should take urgent and effective measures for implementation of the recommendations of the Sachar committee and the Rangnath Misra commission without further delay.


Crime against women is a blot on the society. While the new legal framework which has been put in place may deal with the crime against women to an extent by acting as deterrent, it is ultimately the awareness and gender sensitisation that could reduce the crime against women and make them feel safe and secure. Gender sensitivity, specially in places of work, educational institutions and in all places should be given increased priority. In this direction, effort must start from our own family first with sensitization of our boy child about girl child.


Tripura had a history of insurgency which went for about three decades, but the State has been broadly successful in containing the insurgency because of the two-pronged strategy of dealing firmly with insurgent elements and unleashing developmental efforts in the tribal areas in a big way to wean away the disgruntled youth from falling prey to the evil machinations of the extremists. However, there is no room for any complacency as they are still active with their camps in Bangladesh being fostered and nurtured by ISI.


The people of all communities are peace-loving, but sometimes some sections of the society fall prey to the evil designs of the fundamentalists and divisive forces. For this, all the national and regional political parties should have zero tolerance towards fundamentalist forces and launch all-out ideological and political campaign in a serious and systematic manner for promoting national unity and integration among the masses so that the divisive forces can be exposed and isolated.