Communist Party of India (Marxist) politburo member Sitaram Yechury on Monday refused to comment on the row over death sentence to Afzal Guru, saying the plea to the President for clemency is also a process of law in which no one should interfere.
To persistent queries from the media on this issue, the senior CPM leader said
it is every one’s democratic right to take a stand on the issue and his stand is to be silent. Significantly, CPM leader in Kashmir, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami is openly campaigning for clemency to Afzal. Yechury's silence indicates dilution in the party’s stand on the issue.
Yechury was on a day's visit to Bhopal to address state level office bearers in the ongoing training session. He spoke on communalism and the danger posed by it to the country.
Referring to a spate of suicide by farmers, the CPM leader attributed it to their inability to repay the loans taken on high interest from private usurpers.
The CPM would exert more pressure on the Union Government to ensure that maximum farmers get facility of institutional credit and the interest rate on credit is lowered to four percent as per recommendation of the Swaminathan Commission. Presently, less than 40 percent farmers are getting the benefit of institutional credit, he addded.
On the issue of Special Economic Zones, Yechury reiterated that rules pertaining to SEZs should be amended as also the compensation packages for the farmers whose lands are acquired. He mentioned that the priority while setting up the zone should be utilisation of non-agriculture land and then mono-crop land. If multi-crop lands are to be used the farmers should be compensated at 152 per cent of the market rate as is being done in West Bengal, he said.
He also said that one family member of all such farmers' should be provided employment in the SEZ and the farmers should be made stakeholders so that they benefit when the land price goes up.
Yechury also mentioned that presently only 25 pc of the acquired land for SEZs are used for production purposes while almost 75 pc land is being developed by builders. He said that the distribution should be – 50 pc land for production, 25 pc for social infrastructure like hospital, schools, roads etc and 25 pc should be developed into real estate.
The CPM leader warned that the BJP-RSS combine is trying to flare-up communal passion again.
Citing example of Mangalore, which is going through period of communal turbulence, Yechury said that ever since BJP has come to power in Karnataka, communal frenzy is on the rise.
He expressed condolence over the death of BSP founder Kanshi Ram but refused to comment on the dispute over his last rites between the family and the party.