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Christian schools cry bias on quota

Calcutta, April 6: State-aided Christian missionary schools are accusing the government of bias for exempting madarsas from reserving teaching posts for SC and ST candidates.

The government has cited the madarsas’ minority status for the move in a circular issued recently.

Scrapping the quota has been a long-standing demand of the 700-odd church-run schools across the state, which also enjoy minority status.

But the government has turned down “our demand over and over again”, school authorities alleged.

“We were shocked to see the circular. It shows the government’s partisan attitude,” said Herod Mullick, the general secretary of the Bangiya Christiya Pariseba, a forum of Christian organisations.

The Pariseba has urged chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to intervene.

Christian missionary schools had sought relief from the reservation, saying it was difficult for them to find suitable teachers among Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

The reserved posts would mostly remain vacant, hampering the smooth running of the schools, they argued.

The state government had granted minority status to the 500-odd state-aided madarsas last year.

Sailesh Mukhopadhyay, the general secretary of the Association of Christian Schools, said: “Article 15 (V) of the Constitution says that reservation policies of the government should not apply to minority institutions. The state government’s move to compel Christian missionary schools to follow its reservation policy is an infringement on our rights.”

“We are also in touch with the central government and the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions,” Mukhopadhyay added.

Minority affairs minister Abdus Sattar was not available for comment.

A senior official of his department, however, said Christian missionary schools would have to implement the quota.

“We have examined the schools’ demand for reservation exemption, but we can do nothing about it since the missionary schools fall under the jurisdiction of the school education department,” he added.

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