KOZHIKODE: A dalit empowerment programme launched by a youth at a dalit colony at Kongapadam village in Palakkad has been stalled by the CPM which feared that the community would desert the party. The programme is the brainchild of Mr C.D. Sajith Kumar of Kozhikode who had come to Kongapadam to do BTech at the nearby NSS Engineering College during the 90s. Moved by the pathetic condition of the colony people, he decided to sow the seeds of learning among them and commenced a special tuition programme in the colony five years back.
As a result of his efforts, the children of the colony passed SSLC, Plus-Two, degree and BEd courses whereas previously none had passed even SSLC. But the programme worried the CPM as the colony residents realised the party’s anti-dalit stance and started distancing from it. Kongapadam is a red bastion and the dalit people are its traditional vote banks.
“The dalits began to question the party and refused to attend party functions. They also participated in the ‘Nilppu samaram’ organised by C.K. Janu during the previous UDF rule. All these are identity politics which are ultimately against the CPM,” said a CPM leader, who preferred anonymity. Mr Sajith Kumar said that the classes have been stopped for over six months now following the CPM’s campaign against the programme. “The tuition class was labelled as immoral trafficking and spreading extremist ideology,” he alleged.
“We had sown the seeds of learning in the minds of the colony dwellers. But it is now stalled by a few local people, apparently at the behest of CPM local leadership,” he said. At first, the CPM did not allow the local Anganwadi to conduct the classes. “Then, I rented out a house and the deed was signed. But at the last moment, the owner backtracked and tore off the deed,” said Mr Sajith.
CPM Mundur area committee member T. Ramanujan denied the allegation and told DC that CPM is for dalit empowerment and is open for discussion. “I had invited Sajith for talks to clear the air, but he didn’t come,” he said. Mr D. Sadashivan, president of the CPM-ruled Akethethara grama panchayat, said that the Anganwadi was not allowed to conduct classes as the localites complained against the noise from the classes. “An alternative set up was offered at a local reading room. But they didn’t accept,” he added.