Special Reports

Not much done for Muslims: Buddha

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on 13 August accepted that there had hardly been any improvement in the condition of the community in the state in the last 30 years of the Marxist rule. The Chief Minister however quickly linked "historical reasons" with the poor condition of Muslims of his state. "There is no point arguing that the condition of the Muslims is not very inspiring in our state. Various historical reasons have been largely responsible for their poor condition. We have also to concede that the Muslims still continue to be far too backward than other communities of the state," he said adding "After all how far can we hide behind excuses and allow a sizeable part of West Bengal to languish in backwardness?" He was speaking at a function hosted by Alia University for Muslims where 35,000 students would get training in various streams with 90 per cent subsidy from the state government. The decision to improve the Muslims' lot including providing them with jobs, education and health facilities was taken after the 2009 general election in which  the ruling LF suffered its worst defeat in last 30 years. Reports suggest that Muslims do not even represent 10 per cent of the workforce in the Kolkata Police and Kolkata Municipal Corporation, notwithstanding the fact that they constitute more than 25 per cent of the State's population. Worse still, only 2 per cent Muslim women were in Government jobs. Reports also said the number of Muslim employees in Group A and B positions comprise about 4.7 per cent. In the lower Group C and D, they were just 1.8 per cent.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 September 2009 on page no. 13

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