April 24, 2016

Raghavulu Calls for United Struggle to Realise Demand of Reservation in Private Sector

P Satish

MARGINALISED sections of society should be ready to wage a united struggle so as to realise their demands of reservation in jobs in private sector and put end to caste-based discrimination, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member B V Raghavulu said at a public meeting in Ongole in Andhra Pradesh to mark the conclusion of Samajika Chaitanya Yatra, a social awareness drive.

The state-wide yatra was organised by KVPS, an organisation fighting against caste-based discrimination. It began on April 5, the birth anniversary of Babu Jagjivan Ram, and ended on April 14, the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar. It evoked good response from marginalised sections. Activists of Left trade unions and youth and women organisations took part in the campaign enthusiastically, along with KVPS cadres.

The yatra highlighted the demands of reservation in jobs in private sector, allocation of sites for burial grounds for Dalits, proper implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and introduction of a legislation named after Hyderabad Central University student Rohith Vemula, who was forced to commit suicide, so as to eradicate caste-based discrimination in higher education institutions.

The yatra traversed through Dalit colonies and bastis and the activists tried to gauge the pressing problems of Dalits and other oppressed sections of society. Seminars, motorbike rallies, padayatras and candlelight processions were organised in various places as part of the campaign.

Addressing the public meeting in Ongole, Raghavulu demanded that the central and state governments immediately enact a legislation so as to ensure reservation in jobs in the private sector as employment opportunities in the public sector are dwindling due to the privatisation policies of successive governments. Governments should not only observe birth anniversary of Ambedkar but also initiate steps to take forward his message towards realisation of social justice.

Raghavulu challenged the Chandrababu government in Andhra Pradesh to declare that it will deal with iron hand those who attack Dalits. He said that in the name of development, lands of Dalits are being taken away by government and demanded an end to it. The Chandrababu government has appointed chairman of the state SC/ST Commission only a day before Ambedkar’s birth anniversary but has not yet allotted suitable machinery and staff to facilitate its proper functioning, he said. It is time Muslims, minorities, women, Dalits, tribals and physically-challenged persons wage a united struggle for realisation of their demands, he exhorted.

Addressing the gathering, Andhra Pradesh state secretary of KVPS Andra Malyadri demanded that the government spell out its action plan to put an end to atrocities against Dalit and tribal population. He said the Chandrababu government didn’t even allocate funds for SC/ST sub plans and kept quiet when burial grounds of Dalits were being encroached upon. The meeting was presided over by KVPS district vice-president Jala Anjayya. Prior to the public meeting, a motorbike rally crisscrossed the major thoroughfares of the city.

At a meeting in Nellore on April 14, CPI(M) Andhra Pradesh state secretary P Madhu said the government should work towards progress of Dalits instead of just building a 125-foot statue of Ambedkar. On the one hand the Chandrababu government is taking away the rights of the marginalised section and on the other, it is celebrating birth anniversary of Ambedkar with fanfare. In Anantpur district, out of 1,007 villages, only 106 have burial grounds for Dalits but the government and the administration are not bothered about their woes, he said.

The 190TH birth anniversary of social reformer Jyotiba Phule was celebrated in the midst of the yatra and various activities were conducted to highlight his thoughts on the welfare of downtrodden sections.

The awareness drive was also conducted in Srikakulam, Kakinada, Rajahmundry and Prakasam. CPI(M) Central Secretariat member V Srinivas Rao addressed a public meeting at Lakshimpeta in Srikakulam district. Former SFI president Y Venkateswara Rao addressed a gathering organised by SFI in Vijayawada.

KVPS founder-president Paturu Ramayya, at a rally in Vijayawada, said the TDP government in the state and the BJP-led dispensation at the Centre have scant regard for the welfare of the downtrodden and they are trying to hoodwink the people by managing media. The BJP and TDP governments must be taught a lesson by conducting joint struggles, he said.

CPI(M) Central Committee member Gaffoor addressed a gathering in Kadapa and exhorted the oppressed sections to forge unity in order to counter the attacks of the Right-wing forces. He said the saffron outfits are waging malicious campaign against the Left and progressive forces and their regressive ideology is responsible for the pitiable state of affairs of Dalits. If the communal forces are not checkmated by the forces demanding social justice, there will be a grave danger for the future of the depressed sections, he warned.

Addressing a meeting in Kakinada, KVPS president Dadala Subbarao severely rebuked the Chandrababu government for keeping quiet on attacks on Dalits across the state. He highlighted an incident in Kolimera village near Tuni where upper caste land lords have vandalised and torched huts of dalits and attacked them, severely injuring an elderly woman. The district administration didn’t even register a case against the culprits till they were forced by KVPS, CITU and other progressive organisations. The government Chandrababu government is only paying lip-service and doing nothing to ameliorate the social conditions of Dalits, he said, exhorting the people to wage a sustained campaign.

A seminar was organized by KVPS and other progressive organisations in Vizag which was addressed by Prof. Kancha Ilaiah and V Srinivas Rao. Rao, in his address, said the Hindutva forces and the Modi government are trying to appropriate Ambedkar while doing nothing for the welfare of Dalits. He cautioned the marginalised sections against attempts of communal polarisation by the BJP government and appealed to them to remain united to foil such attacks. He said the Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch (DSMM) is trying to create awareness amongst the Dalits about the injustice meted out to them. Prof. Ilaiah lambasted the Hindutva forces for the onslaught on the onward march of Dalits in higher institutions. He referred to the case of Rohith Vemula so as to highlight how the saffron forces are unable to digest the social awakening of Dalits.