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Bengal: CPM plays the minority card

With assembly elections in sight, CPM in West Bengal is gearing itself to face the imminent threat that Congress and Trinamool Congress are likely to pose. This has prompted the state chief minister to move from one door to another begging for support. Operation “damage control” has been launched in a big way. This has driven them to Muslims with new sops, one after another.

20 November 2010 brought the much published AMU campus to Murshidabad. After sharing the dias with Pranab Mukherjee, Union minister for finance, at the time of foundation stone ceremony; the chief minister, just four days later, i.e., 24 November, laid the foundation stone of the city campus of Aliah University to convince Muslims how keen he was to help them. While the Murshidabad programme concluded without any hassle, the Aliah University programme was marred by angry protests. The CM was not only greeted with black flags but also with “Go Back” placards. Though there were only a handful of madrasa students, whom the police managed to control easily, yet it made the CM realise what was brewing in people’s minds. In the programme, the CM announced several schemes. This very fact, however, led people to think whether it was a prelude to electioneering meant to seduce the Muslims.

West Bengal Madrasa Students Union was sore over the proposal to shift the campus from the thickly populated Muslim locality, Haji Muhammad Mohsin Square to Maulana College Grounds on 17, Gora Chand Road. They regard this scheme mere hypocricy. By depriving the prefix “Madrasa” from its name, students feel that its Islamic identity has been sacrificed. Though the CM claims to extend higher education to Muslims, he has not been able to get a minor demand fulfilled - to treat the “Kamil” degree of the Madrasa at par with B.A.

Shifting of campus to Salt Lake area reminds people of the exercise of transferring the Haj House from Dilkusha Street to Rajarhat locality. These proposals for the welfare of Muslims are, in fact, meant for benefiting others. Providing more and more jobs to Muslims by bringing them within the OBC list seems a rosy prospect when we notice that efforts by Muslims to obtain OBC certificates have been thwarted. The CM generously announced that students will be provided higher education through Urdu medium upto graduation and post graduation levels. The new campus would provide residential accommodation to 2500 students with faculties of literature, engineering and science. The campus, at a cost of Rs 62 crore, would be ready by next year.

With shifting of existing campus to the new site where practically there is no Muslim population, the existing one would be converted into a women’s campus where girls would be provided with courses in nursing, B.Ed and Medicine alongwith hostel facilities. The CM advised students not to remain complacent with exposure to Theology only and should try to go for engineering and science and compete in examinations to ensure their chances in governance. With such sops the community is being wooed to lend the left front a substantial support.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 March 2011 on page no. 1

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