People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 12, 2007
Chennai Convention Demands
‘Implement Sachar Committee Recommendations’
Md Salim inaugurating the convention; and a view of the audience on the right
A A Nainar
SEEKING immediate implementation of the recommendations of the Rajinder Sachar Committee, a special convention was held in Chennai on Monday July 30, 2007. The spacious 2000-capacity hall was packed to its capacity well before the start of the meeting scheduled for 4 pm in the evening. People from all walks of life from different parts of the state, especially Muslims participated in large numbers in the convention. A separate section was allotted for Muslim women and they formed a considerable part of the audience.
Organised by the state committee of the CPI(M), the meeting was chaired by a presidium consisting of Noor Mohammed, Kanyakumari district secretary of the Party, Moosa, state committee member of the Party and Fouziya Begum, Chidambaram Municipality chairperson.
Mohammed Salim, MP and central committee member of the CPI(M) while inaugurating the special convention, graphically elaborated the background in which the UPA government was forced to appoint a high power committee to go into the social and economic conditions of Muslims in India. Though promised in the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP), the government failed to take any meaningful measures for the upliftment of the minorities, especially the Muslims. When pressed upon by the Left, the UPA wanted to have a basis on which such measures could be announced and thus a committee headed by Justice Rajinder Sachar was formed in March 2005. It had submitted its recommendations to the parliament in November 2006. Till date the government is not prepared to even discuss it in the parliament for evolving an action plan for implementing its recommendations, Salim charged.
The main reason why the government and even the opposition parties are shying away from pressing for a discussion is because they fear a Hindu backlash if they are seen to be supporting a Muslim cause, said Salim. That is why it has become incumbent upon the CPI(M) to take to the streets throughout the country seeking people’s support for mounting pressure on the government to act on the recommendations. So far six state level conventions had taken place in various states organised by the respective state committees of the CPI(M) and many more are in the offing.
Mohammed Salim went on to explain the current state of Muslims in the country and made a comparison of what the West Bengal government was able to do so far for the upliftment of the Muslims in the recent period. He claimed with pride that West Bengal is the only state which was not affected by any communal riots during the last thirty years of Left rule. In his concluding remarks, he appealed to the Muslims to evolve both long term and short term strategies for their development in the socio-economic, educational and cultural spheres. He also called upon the Muslims to take this opportunity to break the efforts to ghettoise them and join hands with the Left, democratic and secular parties in their struggle for achieving the demands.
Speaking next, senior advocate Habibullah Badsha came down heavily on the communal parties that branded any concession afforded to the well-deserving Muslims as ‘policy of appeasement’. He wanted the central and state governments to immediately announce certain measures that would bring a change in the socio economic conditions of the deprived sections of the Muslims. He also asked the state government to understand the importance of educating Muslim boys and girls which would go a long way in bringing about this change.
The former vice-chancellor of Madras University Sathik exhorted upon the well-to-do Muslims to take initiatives in running schools and colleges and engage in such other activities that might help the downtrodden sections within the Muslim community. He flayed other political parties for remaining silent about the implementation of the Sachar Committee recommendations.
A celebrated Tamil poet “Kavikko” Abdul Rahman poetically expressed solidarity and said their community had found a good friend in the CPI(M) and in the coming days together they could advance the struggles for realisation of democratic demands.
CPI(M) state secretary N Varadarajan said that his party would urge upon the UPA government at the centre and its constituents in the state to take up the cause of the Muslims and seek immediate implementation of the recommendations. He also said that the CPI(M) would take up this issue to every nook and corner of the state to create awareness among the general public on this important social issue. CPI(M) central committee member U Vasuki detailed the plight of Muslim women and children in the state and the efforts taken by AIDWA to highlight this issue during the past few months.
A resolution was moved in the special convention by D Lakshmanan, state secretariat member of the CPI(M), which demanded immediate implementation of the Sachar panel’s recommendations and the same was passed by a thunderous applause by the audience. Earlier, T Nandagopal South Chennai district secretary of the Party welcomed the gathering and his counterpart of the North Chennai T K Shanmugam proposed a vote of thanks at the conclusion of the special convention. The upcountry district committees of the CPI(M) in Tamilnadu appeared to have done a good home work which was manifested in the mobilisation of the Muslim population from almost all districts. Expectant of a remedy through the efforts of the CPI(M), the Muslim men, women and children were of full throb and enthusiasm in their attendance and participation.