Monday, March 2, 2009

Violence leads to anarchy, Dr. JP warns organizations

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today appealed to all political parties, civil society organizations and the media to bring down inflamed tempers and facilitate orderly, dignified and peaceful conduct of election campaign and public debate.

Addressing the media, Dr. JP said the tragic and untimely death of an MRPS activist as a result of violence and arson at Gandhi Bhavan was avoidable and distressing. “Citizens, political parties and organizations can express their dissent peacefully and democratically to further their demands. But their liberty is not absolute or unrestrained. The Constitution rightly provided for certain restraints since the exercise of liberty by one should not harm others. If political parties and civil society groups resort to violence there will be anarchy. The arson at Gandhi Bhavan which resulted in injuries even to innocent citizens underlines the tragic consequences of violence and unruly behavior.”

Dr. JP referred to instances like the MRPS violence in the Assembly and sprinkling of kerosene on a Minister, and instances of pelting of stones and using of blades, knives and chilly powder as weapons in agitations and said that traditional political parties are guilty of fostering a climate of violence and disorder. The notion political parties harbor that they are above law is dangerous and despicable – dangerous because they are supposed to set an example to citizens and despicable because they cannot claim higher rights than citizens who are the real sovereigns.

Dr. JP said that frequent agitations by certain groups for extension of reservations or re-categorization exposed the public policy bankruptcy of traditional political parties. They deliberately allowed the issues to fester for decades in furtherance of their vote bank politics.

The Lok Satta leader said that the founding fathers of the Constitution provided for reservations to certain communities who suffered discrimination for centuries as a temporary reparation. “But 60 years later, the reservations continue even as millions of people are denied an opportunity to fulfill their potential. The caste far from being eradicated now stands consolidated.”

Dr. JP stated that the problem of the poor among the reserved categories is real and genuine because the benefits of reservations have been substantially cornered by the better off like the children of ministers, officials and millionaires. And there are millions of children among the unreserved categories who do not have opportunities for decent education.

To resolve the chronic problem once and for all and facilitate the emergence of a casteless society in one generation, the Lok Satta has come up with a four-point plan, said Dr. JP.

First, the benefits of reservations should go only to the poor and disadvantaged sections. Children belonging to the creamy layer comprising people like ministers, collectors and the affluent should be totally excluded. Had this happened the more disadvantaged Madigas would not have been elbowed out by some of the advanced sections among SCs.

Second, a system should be devised to enable children of the poor in all castes and religions to realize their potential. All such children should be given a weightage of five to ten percent marks in competitive examinations for higher education and jobs.

Third, appreciating that reservations apply to only those who finish school, the Government should enable every child to get quality education including computer studies and English for 12 years in both public and private schools at Government cost. Ninety percent of children in general and 95 percent among Scheduled Castes and Tribes in Andhra Pradesh do not finish school.

Fourth, the State should undertake robust affirmative action and enable every child --irrespective of caste -- to pursue higher education if he deserves and desires at Government cost. Such affirmative action will give no room for any heartburn as caste will cease to be a factor in deciding the fate of a child.

Dr. JP appealed to all parties to join hands in furthering these goals and ending discrimination once and for all.

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