Mangaluru: CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury visited Sundara Malekudiya at AJ Hospital, here on September 3. He also spoke to his family and assured his support in providing justice.
After visiting Sundara Malekudiya at AJ Hospital, Member of Rajya Sabha and General Secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist), Sitaram Yechury addressed the mediapersons and expressed his solidarity with Sundara Malekudiya, his family and tribe who are fighting against the illegal occupation of the tribal lands by landlords. He said that the Tribal Forest Bill was passed in the Parliament many years ago after many fights with the then government to pass the bill. “All these tribal family should have been given legal ‘Pattas’ by now. Instead of that, we still see the prevalence of centuries old feudal landlordism which has encroached upon their traditional lands. When the tribals go back to claim their own lands, incidents like this happen. This is a very, very inhumane and heinous crime,” he said.
Yechury further said that people are aware that the whole family which propagated this crime has been arrested but it is also well known that the family has very high connections with powerful political parties. He said that given this fact, a proper enquiry should be conducted and no amount of influence should be utilized to try and dilute the case or exonerate the culprits.
When asked if this issue would be raised in the Parliament, he replied that though this issue technically falls in the state’s law and order problem, it would be raised under the Tribal Forest Act and it’s non implementation in Karnataka, since tribal issues can and should be raised in the Parliament. “The country has to know that despite all the great talks of modernity and Make in India, we still have the strong prevalence of feudal land grabbing and feudal landlords at work. This is something that cannot be allowed or tolerated in a modern India. This is against the laws. We abolished the zamindari system many, many years ago at the time of independence and we cannot allow such state of affairs to be continued.” He also said that it is the state government’s responsibility to take care of the injured party and have the landlord’s family compensate for their medical bills, if possible.
Speaking on the recent murder of renowned Kannada writer and research scholar Dr M M Kalburgi, he said that this incident comes in the line of murders of various nationalist thinkers that have occurred in the past, particularly from Maharashtra. “These are all clear indications of where the state or government is patronizing such forces who are openly indulging in moral policing. The life of the Tulunadu area was the intermingling of various cultures, religions and the co-existence among them. Now that is being shattered and it is most unfortunate not only for the area but for the entire syncretic evolution of the Indian civilization. Moral policing and the state patronage that is being given to such forces is something that absolutely goes against the grain of the modern Indian republic and is something that needs to be curtailed with the strong hand,” he said.
When asked about MRPL’s Phase 3 project, he said that the CPI(M) is strongly in favor of the fact that environmental destruction of the Western Ghats has been one of the serious concerns for not only India but the world. The UNESCO wants to declare Western Ghats as a heritage area because it is home to some of the newly evolving species in this world. “Our comrades are fighting against the project and they have been arrested. We will fight for their release and at the same time fight against the destruction of the ghats,” he added.