Uplift of Muslims in W. Bengal


This refer to the write-up in your issue of 16-30 June 2011, on Chief Minister Mamta Bannerji’s  announcement on Urdu as the second official language in some districts of West Bengal, along with other minority languages in the state. Considering that Urdu is the mother tongue of a very small section of the Muslims of West Bengal, who are all educationally and therefore economically very backward, the Mushawarat has requested the Chief Minister to establish, to begin with, government primary schools of quality in all Muslim villages and urban localities under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and also to recognize and sanction grant-in-aid to the Muslim educational institutions established by the Community at various levels. Both these urgent needs of the Muslim community were totally ignored by the Left government.

The Mushawarat has also requested the Chief Minister to convert the Government Senior and High Madarsas in the state as they are really schools with Islamic studies as an optional subject, to regular secondary and higher secondary school & also to reserve at least 20 % seats for the Muslims in higher & technical education. Both these steps will bring the Muslims into the mainstream of education & profession and enable them to find their due place in Government and private service. The Muslim community of West Bengal has noted that although the Left government had announced 10 % reservation for Muslim in government jobs, it did not touch education and the procedure adopted was so complicated & cumbersome that there has been no substantial entry of Muslims in government jobs.

“Considering that the Muslim community in West Bengal comprises nearly 27 % of the state population and is the most backward Muslim community of any state in the country, the Mushawarat had also requested the Left Government to declare the entire Muslim community as a Backward Class excluding those who belong to the creamy layer or those who have an annual family income above the state average. This may be done by an Executive Order, & not by processing individual applications, as the Late PM, V P Singh, had done when he implemented Mandal recommendation. Most Muslims of West Bengal have descended from converts from Hindu lower castes & still have the same vocation. Also in West Bengal the 50 % reservation quota remains unutilized. The AIMMM requests that the State Backward Classes Commission should take up this question.

“It has been noted that in view of the importance that the Chief Minister, attaches to urgent uplift of the Muslim community, she has kept the portfolios of Minority Affairs in her hands. It is hoped that as Minister for Minority Affairs, she will ensure that the Muslim minority gets its due share in the benefits of-all Central & Centrally Sponsored & State development programmes in the Social Sector. “I suggest that these points be stressed by community leaders too when they meet her.    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 July 2011 on page no. 12

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