Monday, September 30, 2013
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.
MANIK SARKAR AT NIC MEET
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
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. India
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
. 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. India
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
being fostered and nurtured by ISI. Bangladesh
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.
NOTE TO NATIONAL INTEGRATION COUNCIL
CPI(M) Suggests Measures to Curb Communalism
We are publishing here the contribution made by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), submitted by Prakash Karat, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), to the meeting of the National Integration Council held in New Delhi on September 23, 2013. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, also attended the meeting on behalf of the party.
THIS meeting of the National Integration Council is being held in the background of rising number of communal incidents and violence in the recent months, which is a matter of serious concern. In the past few weeks, there has been communal violence occurring in Kishtwar in Jammu & Kashmir; in Nawada and Betiah in
Bihar; and a major outbreak of violence in Muzaffar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh where more than 40 people have been killed. These have occurred after a series of communal incidents in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in the past one year.
What accounts for the worsening of the communal situation in the recent period? These are not spontaneous outbreaks but part of a planned effort and designed by certain communal-political forces.
The causes for the communal violence are the same as in the past --- religious processions moving through mixed areas and provocations taking place; allegations of harassment of young women belonging to a particular community by persons of another community; inflammatory propaganda which leads to a climate of mistrust and any incident can spark off a wider conflict. But what is more disturbing is that riots are sought to be spread in the rural areas, as it happened in Muzaffar Nagar. In all such riots, it is the minority community which ultimately bears the brunt of the violence in terms of deaths and destruction of property.
Certain organisations and political parties espousing communal ideology are indulging in communal propaganda to build up tensions and to utilise any incident to incite communal violence.
As per the figures supplied by the home ministry, this year, from January to September, there have been 497 communal incidents in the country which have killed 107 people and injured 1,697.
The forthcoming 2014 Lok Sabha elections seem to be a catalyst for communal activities. It can be easily identified who seeks to gain out of such communal polarisation.
MEASURES TO TACKLE
Therefore, in order to curb communal violence, it is necessary to first identify such political-communal elements and organisations and take preventive measures to curb their activities and propaganda. The laws concerning the prohibition of communal propaganda, incitement to hatred etc should be applied.
The role of the administration in taking such precautionary measures cannot be overemphasised. It is also essential to see that the administration and the police act promptly and impartially to curb violence and to book the offenders.
The Prevention of Communal Violence Bill should be enacted into law without further delay. The law should focus only on communal violence and not broaden itself to other forms of conflicts and violence. Further, the legislation should be in keeping with the federal principle wherein the state governments have the primary responsibility for maintenance of law and order and policing.
The espousal of communal ideology through the educational system and textbooks which promote communal and anti-secular ideas exist in some states --- these need to be dealt with.
We have seen the use of social media and networking sites to promote inflammatory communal propaganda. Just as in the case of other forms of communal propaganda, measures should be taken to prohibit such content and take action against those who upload such content. In this connection, the clause in the Information Technology Act, Section 66 A, should be suitably modified, so that this clause is not misused to suppress views and dissenting opinions.
Above all, it is important that the problem of communal violence is not seen merely as an administrative law and order problem.
Given the history of communal politics in
, it is primarily a political issue and it must be dealt with politically. This requires firm adherence to the secular principle and the need to combat communal ideology and politics, whatever their source and origin. India
There is another matter which concerns communal harmony and involves having an equitable approach to the minorities.
Communalism promotes extremist activities such as terrorist violence. While it is necessary to fight and curb terrorism, whichever its source, there has to be care to see that no single community is targeted. Unfortunately, experience shows that in the name of fighting terrorism often innocent Muslim youth are targeted. There have been a number of cases where young Muslims have been arrested and implicated in false cases and kept for prolonged periods in jail. There are many cases where these youth have been eventually acquitted and the judiciary has passed strictures on the way they have been booked on false or flimsy evidence.
Such a biased approach on the part of the police and security agencies is causing alienation and anger among the community. It is imperative that such a discriminatory approach is given up. The State has responsibility to compensate and help the rehabilitation of such youth. There should be accountability and action taken against the police and security authorities who are responsible for such travesty of justice.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Sexual offences and attacks on women and children have assumed alarming proportions. Even as incidents of rape, gang rape, acid throwing on young women, child sexual abuse have increased, the conviction rate in cases of crimes against women remains dismal. The utter failure and lack of political will to put in place a system which ensures the certainly of punishment encourages such criminality. Stringent action must be taken against all those, whether in the police or other investigation agencies, who sabotage the law. Fast track courts for such cases and time bound justice are an urgent necessity.
Even though a new law has been put in place as a result of public outrage following the brutal Delhi gang rape, it is yet to be implemented properly and, in any case, is not sufficient as it does not cover all the recommendations made by the Verma committee. For example, the horrendous killing of young couples in the name of honour continues. There is urgent need for a separate law against such so-called honour killings. It is unfortunate that such a law has not been taken up as some state governments do not feel it necessary to go against the retrograde so-called traditions and social conventions for narrow political considerations.
Communal and fundamentalist forces in all communities seek to impose their patriarchal values on women, restricting and violating their rights. Often sexual attacks and harassment of women are given a communal colour and used by communal organisations to rouse passions and hatred against the other community. It is necessary to take strong action against such elements.
It is deeply regrettable that in a number of cases, men in high places, whether in politics, in the sphere of self-proclaimed "god men" and so on, have often utilised that power to harass women. The crime must be considered as an aggravated sexual crime and action taken accordingly. No double standards of leniency in applying the law against such individuals should be attempted.
At the same time the inequalities in terms of access to employment, equal wages, guaranteed social security, rights in land and other assets, make women dependent and therefore more vulnerable to violence. It is necessary to ensure a framework of economic policies which enable women to attain economic independence, particularly for the poorer sections of women, dalits and adivasis who are the most vulnerable targets of sexual violence.
Women's rights to an environment free of sexual violence must be grounded as a fundamental and constitutional right accorded to women on the basis of gender equality. The right of women to live in a society free from sexual violence must be grounded as a fundamental and constitutional right accorded to women on the basis of the principle of equality. These principles must form part of the upbringing and education of our young people and be reflected in educational syllabi at all levels.
SC’S AND ST’S
There has to be allocation of budgetary resources for the development of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in proportion to their population. However, the Planning Commission guidelines in this respect have remained only on paper. The experience is that the funds of the tribal sub-plan and the SC special component plan are diverted for other purposes or are not fully utilised and lapse.
To prevent this happening, legislation should be passed to ensure mandatory implementation of the sub-plan and special component plan for the STs and SCs respectively. The government of
should bring such legislation expeditiously in parliament for adoption. India