Mallappally: Kerala Fisheries and Culture Minister Saji Cheriyan has sparked off a controversy by criticising the Constitution of India. Speaking during a CPM programme at Mallappally in Pathanamthitta, Saji Cheriyan said, the Constitution has been written in such a way that it helps exploit the people of our country.
“We all say we have a beautifully written Constitution; the most valued in the country. I would say, it has been written in such a way that the most number of people in India can be robbed and exploited beautifully. The Indians just adopted a constitution prepared and directed by the British and it is being implemented in the country for 75 years now. I would not agree with whoever speaks in the country, for it. I would still say it is the most beautiful constitution to help exploit common man,” he said.
“Some values have been written down here and there. The words secularism and democracy have been written along the sides. However, the Constitution is clearly being used to exploit commoners. India is a country which does not accept protests by labourers. The constitution of India condones labour exploitation. A worker may be assaulted for asking for his wages. That is why Ambani, Adani and crorepatis like them grow here. Where does all the money come from?”, Saji asked.
“The common man is being exploited using the additional value from his hard work. Does the Constitution protect the workers when they work for 12, 14 and 20 hours a day rather than the stipulated 8 hours? Would the public support the trade unions if they go on a strike? They are instead being blamed for any problem in the country. Neither the media nor the Judiciary stands by them. If the workers move the Court questioning a delay in getting wages, the Court first questions their strike,” Cheriyan added.
Opposition seeks minister's resignation
The Opposition parties have demanded that Cheriyan resign as minister as he violated his oath with his remarks on the Constitution. The Governor also interfered in the matter with his office taking serious cognisance of the speech.
"A minister who has taken an oath that he will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution has denounced it without any basis. He has insulted the architects of the Constitution, including Dr B R Ambedkar. He doesn't have any right to continue as a minister,” Leader of the Opposition in Kerala Assembly V D Satheesan said.
The Congress leader alleged that the CPM minister used the Constitution to divert attention from the political criticism his party and government have been facing.
"Where did Cheriyan get the idea that the Constitution is anti-workers and exploitative? Has he ever read it? Does he have any idea of the greatness of the Constitution and the serenity people attach to it," Satheesan asked.
Satheesan said the Congress would move legally against the minister if he doesn't step down.
Several other Congress leaders have also come out against Cheriyan's remarks.
BJP state president K Surendran also demanded Cheriyan's resignation after terming the minister's remarks blunderous and obscene. "Cheriyan's statements reflect the Communists' irreverence towards the Constitution," Surendran said.
Guv seeks details
Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Tuesday asked his staff to get him the details of the minister's speech. His office is likely to issue a statement on the matter later in the day.
Social activist Payichira Nawaz has filed a complaint with the governor requesting him to seek Cheriyan's resignation.
Former Kerala High Court Judge B Kemal Pasha also said Cheriyan has no right to continue in the post after denigrating the Constitution. "What the minister said was unbecoming of any literate person," said Pasha.
CPM to examine speech
Meanwhile, the CPM said the party will examine the statements made by Cheriyan and an explantion will be sought from the party's Pathanamthitta district committee. The CPM will make clear its stand on the issue after that, reported Manorama News.