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HVK Archives: CPI(M-L) for national unity but firm on right to secede

CPI(M-L) for national unity but firm on right to secede - The Observer

Vinode Mishra ()
3 December 1996

Title : CPI(M-L) for national unity but firm on right to secede
Author : Vinode Mishra
Publication : The Observer
Date : December 3, 1996

The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) or the
Liberation Group among the Naxalite political formations
wants national unity genuinely without compromising on
the question of the right of nations to self-determina-
tion, including right to secede from the Indian unity.
CPI (M-L) general-secretary Vinode Mishra, in an inter-
view with Sankar Ray stated that "just like a married
couple should have the right to divorce while making all
efforts to keep up and strengthen the wedlock, we do not
give up the right of nations to self-determination (RNSD)
of any nationality in the Indian state of many nationali-
ties and sub-nationalities while fighting for the unity
of the multinational polity."

Following are the excerpts of the conversation

Question: Your party has not yet supported the demand for
statehood in Darjeeling Hills but you have been a cham-
pion for the cause of more powers to the states and
regions. Does this not present a contradictory picture?

Vinode Mishra: No, not at all. There is no contradiction
in it. We think that more powers and more autonomy
should be given to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.
Rather, we do think that the effect of autonomy to the
region more or less in the model of Karbi Anglong in
Assam should be observed. If that does not become effec-
tive, the question of statehood should be taken up posi-
tively. Just because some people raised the demand for
the so-called Gorkhaland, the demand cannot be accepted.
We want more autonomy even to the Karbi Anglong auto-
nomous set-up.

Q: Don't you think that ethnic and regionalist expres-
sions are endangering the national unity? If so, what is
your approach to tackling this burning question threaten-
ing national sovereignty?

VM: Certainly, ethnic and nationalist issues are coming
to the surface but that need to be handled scientifical-
ly. The solution does not he in splitting up some of the
existing states. That looks like a bad palliative.

Such type of solution can only be justified if it serves
the left, democratic and progressive purpose. We are of
the view that the States' Reorganisation Commission which
was set up four decades back ought to be reconstituted.
The ethnic and nationality-driven movements take place
for social, historical, linguistic, cultural and certain-
ly economic reasons. But how long will this fissile
process continue? Hence a new States' Reorganisation
Commission with realistic and concrete terms of reference
ought to be set up in order to derive some concrete
proposals including clearly-defined autonomy to every
nationality and ethnic group. Otherwise, the tendencies
to break the thread of national unity and sovereignty
will persist and buck up those interests that want to
break up India in the imperialist interests.

If these splits would help the people and the left and

democratic interests, we would have supported them. But
what is happening in the name of autonomy, more regional
powers etc is diametrically opposite to this. Hence, SRC
is a correct realities.

Q: You talk of Leninist principles of Right of Nations to
Self-Determination that includes the right to secede from
the country. But at the same time you talk of national

VM: We have not (and will not) given up the principle of
Right of Nations to Self-Determination, handed down to us
by Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong as also upheld by Comrade
Charu Majumdar. There is no question of parting with this
principle. But it is just like a married couple should
have the right to divorce while making all efforts to
keep up and strengthen the wedlock, we do not give up
Right of Nations to Self-Determination of any constituent
nationalities or sub-nationalities while fighting for the
genuine unity of the multinational polity of India. We
shall support secession when that shall have a left and
democratic and progressive content. Besides, if any
nationality genuinely upholds the right to secede for
self-determination, it does not do so in a secessionist
way. We are concerned about certain regionalist or seces-
sionist movements that have pro-imperialist, backing.
Some of the ULFA groups were trained by the ISI of Pakis-
tan, as it has been proved. We oppose this trend and in
order to nip these tendencies, we put forward the sugges-
tion for setting up States' Reorganisation Commission

Q: How do you look at the strengthening of the Bahujan
Samaj Party and what are the social and economic reasons
for the sharp rise in the influence of Bahujan Samaj

VM: The Bahujan Samaj Party influence is concentrated in
some of the Dalit bases but the party has also money bags
behind it. Mayawati is among the ten richest persons in
Uttar Pradesh. Besides, industrialists like Jayant Malho-
tra buck up the party. In Uttar Pradesh the leadership
is with those Dalits who are economically very well-off.
If you observe the procession of Contessas and Marutis
during mass meetings or national body meetings of Bahujan
Samaj Party, you will agree that money power is a cata-
lyst of the party which, of course, has a considerable
influence among the backward classes. But the leadership
of BSP is groomed in 5-star culture.

Q: Don't you think that the BJP has been gaining ground
in Bihar and why is it so?

VM: That is for the Janata Party and its allies to ex-
plain. So long a notion was in vogue that the BJP can
have no foothold in Bihar and the Bihar chief minister
Laloo Prasad Yadav is a consistent and dependable leader
against communalist forces, a perception we had disagreed
with even when the Advani's rathayatra was halted.
Rather it is seen that the Bihar government and the
ruling party there could not check the increase of BJP
influence in Bihar. That is why we have been talking of
the primacy of left consolidation first. Now this is to
happen. Today or tomorrow. The Tamil Maanila Congress
is on the way to get merged into the Congress (1) when
the CPI and CPM shall have no alternative other than

quitting the United Front.

The fight against communalism and casteism cannot be
conducted with the Congress or JD or the like. The
consolidated left has to take the initiative. The Bihar
poll results have indicated this.

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