People's Democracy

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


No. 04

January 26, 2014




Struggle Committee for Minority Rights Holds First State Convention


Mariam Dhawale


THE Struggle Committee for Minority Rights (Alpasankhyank Hakka Sangharsh Samiti) held its first Maharashtra state convention at Solapur on January 8, 2014; it was attended by 625 delegates from 10 districts. The convention was presided over by Narsayya Adam, Rehana Shaikh and Mohammed Tajuddin. The reception committee chairman, Yusuf Shaikh (Major), welcomed the delegates.


The highlight of the convention was the presence of CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat who delivered the concluding address, and of CPI(M) Central Committee member Mohd Salim who inaugurated the convention.




Mohd Salim congratulated the delegates for organising this convention to fight for the rights of the minorities and also for the fact that 50 percent of the delegates were women. Today the fight for secularism has become very important for our country. It is not enough that there should be no riots. It is the duty of every government to maintain peace in the country. The culprits who demolished the Babri Masjid as well as those who engineered and participated in riots have not yet been punished. Thousands of families were devastated in Assam. Children are dying in Muzaffarnagar. What justice is this government talking about? The rulers are saying that the country is progressing. But it cannot protect its own children!


During the tenure of the UPA-1 government, the Left parties insisted that the bill for prevention of communal violence be passed. This was included in the common minimum programme. In the National Integration Council meeting, Prakash Karat questioned the government for not having passed this act over the last nine years. Instead, the government has passed repressive laws. Many innocent people have been picked up by the police and have been languishing in jail for years. The CPI(M) has always fought for the rights of all oppressed sections.


Mohd Salim said that the Justice Rajendra Sachar committee report has explicitly brought out the serious socio-economic plight of the Muslims in our country. But the recommendations of the Sachar and Ranganath Mishra reports have not yet been implemented. It was only the Left Front government of West Bengal that implemented the recommendations of the Ranganath Mishra commission for reservation in government jobs to Muslims. Waqf lands should be used for the welfare of the Muslim community. He condemned the permission given by vested interests to Mukesh Ambani to build his palatial 27 storey apartment on Waqf land that was reserved for an orphanage.


Due to the weakness of the Left forces in parliament today, people’s issues are not being discussed. Leaders are being projected instead of policies. The RSS-BJP and their leader Modi are dividing the country. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad had said that this country belongs to us too. So we must join the democratic movement and fight for our just rights.




After the introductory remarks by Sayeed Ahmed, M H Shaikh placed the draft resolution of the convention with its 25-point demands charter. The resolution was supported by Mahendra Singh, Mariam Dhawale and Dr Mehboob Sayyad. Eleven delegates participated in the discussion. After the reply by M H Shaikh, the resolution was unanimously adopted.


Two separate resolutions on two burning issues concerning Solapur --- the Martyr Kurban Husain housing scheme (placed and seconded by Nalini Kalburgi and Naseema Shaikh) and entry to the Masjid in the SP premises (placed and seconded by Aziz Patel and Mohd Hanif Satkhed) --- were also adopted unanimously.


The convention elected a 35 member state committee with M H Shaikh as the convenor.


CPI(M) state secretary Dr Ashok Dhawale in his speech outlined the importance of this convention. The last such convention was held six years ago in Mumbai, after the Sachar report was released. There are today 17 crore dalits, 14 crore Muslims and nine crore adivasis in our country. This 40 crore population is socially and economically the most exploited. Women amongst them are doubly oppressed. We have to organise these sections and make them a part of the Left and democratic movement. Without bringing large parts of these sections with us, it is meaningless to talk of achieving radical change in our country.


Concentrating on the situation of Muslims in Maharashtra, he said that the Sachar committee brought out the dismal situation of the Muslim community. About 48 percent of the Muslim population in the state was below the poverty line in 1988, but this increased to 55 percent in 2005. The Maharashtra government had formed the Mehmoodur Rehman committee to study the situation of Muslims in the state. This committee submitted its report in October 2013. It said that 60 percent of the rural and urban Muslim population lives below the poverty line and 25 percent is just a little above it. This means that 85 percent of the Muslims are either below poverty line (BPL) or just above. The report says that the Muslim population in Maharashtra is 10.6 percent. But only 1.4 percent of Muslim women and just 2.2 percent of all Muslims complete their graduation. Only 4.4 percent Muslims are employed in government services. Only five percent of loans are given to Muslims. On the other hand, 32 to 35 percent of prisoners in the jails in Maharashtra are Muslims!


No action has been taken by the state government against the guilty on the basis of the Srikrishna commission report that probed the heinous Mumbai riots of 1992-93. We are against all forms of terrorism, regardless of the religion of those who indulge in it. But we are also against innocents being falsely implicated. In the Malegaon and other bomb blasts, many Muslim youth were kept behind bars for years and they were later acquitted by the courts. But the state government has not given them any compensation, nor has it done anything to rehabilitate them. We will take up this issue with the chief minister.


Dhawale placed the future tasks as follows:

1) Holding district conventions and forming district committees;

2) Taking up district and local issues as pinpointed in the resolution and building struggles on them;

3) Taking up the issue of compensation to, and rehabilitation of, the youth acquitted in terrorist cases with the chief minister;

4) Activising the state committee of the Struggle Committee for Minority Rights and planning for expansion of work in this section.




In his concluding speech, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said that the principle of democracy was defined in our constitution when it was adopted in 1950. This principle of democracy is violated when a government based on a majority does as it pleases and when all people are not given equal rights. The minority community has the same rights as the majority community. Yet, many citizens, especially Muslims, are discriminated against and do not enjoy equal rights. The Muslim population in our country is 14 percent. They have faced injustice in all sectors – employment, education, development, democratic rights. We had organised a national convention demanding the implementation of the Sachar report.


Communal forces have infiltrated our country. They continuously carry on communal propaganda against the Muslim community. The threat of terrorism too has increased in the last 10 to 15 years. This is being used to discredit the minority community. The communal ideology has also infiltrated the police and administrative machinery. The media too sometimes exhibit an anti-Muslim bias in its reporting.


Hundreds of Muslim youth in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar and Maharashtra are languishing in jails. We studied some of the cases. Mohd Amin was arrested when he was 19 years old in a bomb blast case. He was acquitted by the Delhi sessions court 14 years later. He was 33 years old when he was released from jail. We took up his case and the case of three other youth who had spent 14 years in prison, with the president of India. We met the then union home minister, P Chidambaram, for compensation to these youth. Finally, Mohd Amin received Rs 10 lakh as compensation. We have demanded that along with compensation the government should form a rehabilitation scheme for those acquitted in such cases and action should be taken against the concerned police officers for slapping false cases.


Prakash Karat concluded by saying that self-employment among Muslims is high; hence 15 percent loans should be given as social sector priority loans to Muslims. Muslims should be included in the other backward classes and 10 percent jobs should be reserved for them. The erstwhile Left Front government of West Bengal had reserved 10 percent of jobs for Muslims, but the central government had done nothing. The task before us is to build a strong struggle of all the exploited sections and strengthen the secular and democratic tradition of our nation.