Need to champion resistance against abuse of dalits, adivasis

Many cases go unreported or are settled clandestinely through coercion by the perpetrators of such atrocities.

THIRUVANATHAPURAM: While many would like to portray the brutal assault on tribal youth Madhu in Attapadi as an isolated incident, the fact is that attacks on dalits and triblas have increased manifold in the state. From 53 cases in 2008, the number crossed the 100 mark in 2017. Many cases go unreported or are settled clandestinely through coercion by the perpetrators of such atrocities. Interestingly, after every major incident of atrocity against dalits and adivasis, leaders of principal political parties, including the ruling CPM and opposition Congress, rush to the media to portray it one-off and alien to Kerala’s so-called progressive society. But the frequency with which these incidents are taking place clearly points to a definite pattern. The victims of such attacks are invariably transgenders, migrant workers, adivasis and dalits.

At the national level, the CPM is quite concerned about the growing attacks on dalits and adivasis. This is reflected in the draft political resolution which is to be adopted at the 22nd party congress in Hyderabad. Two pages have been dedicated to the attacks on dalits and adivasis mainly in BJP-ruled states. The CPM has been in the forefront joining the cause of dalits and adivasis outside Kerala. It backed the mass resistance against the institutional murder of Rohit Vemula, Una flogging, demolition of Ambedkar Bhavan in Mumbai, Bheem Army protests in UP and the recent Bhima Koregaon anniversary. But many believe the CPM in Kerala is mostly indifferent or hostile towards agitations of dalits and adivasis.

Though it may be because of their political compulsion, the stand definitely goes against the spirit of the draft resolution which says: “The party should champion the issues against caste oppression and discrimination concerning dalits, adivasis and most backward classes. The party should extend full support to the activities of the dalit and adivasi platforms.” Even the rectification document and Kolakta plenum had pointed out that party committees were reluctant to fight against regressive social practices. “It is not enough to condemn individual atrocity against dalits, Instead the party should take up a sustained campaign against caste oppression,” the document said.

While there may not be blatant encouragement for caste prejudices by Hindutva forces in the state, some of the recent incidents did reflect traces of such tendencies in a small section. Many say for a party which has formed Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch, a national platform to fight against dalit atrocities, and elected former speaker K. Radhakrishnan as its national convenor, it’s time to go beyond statements and act tough against attacks on marginalized sections. According to the 2015 Kolkata plenum report, 20.32 per cent members of CPM are dalits and 7.1 per cent adivasis which indicate the sizeable presence of these sections in the party. Political observers say by alienating dalits, the Left parties will only help the BJP-RSS agenda to communalise these sections and depict them as votaries of Hindutva and against Islam.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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