Calcutta, Aug. 9: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today promised to “look into the problems of the minority community” herself before going on to iterate in a speech after Id prayers her government’s welfare schemes for Muslims.
Around an hour before Mamata arrived at the Red Road prayers, Qari Fazlur Rahman, who leads the Id prayers, urged the government to look after the minority community, adding that “giving toys and lozenges is not going to help”.
During her brief address at Red Road, the chief minister said: “I have come to wish you on Id and thank you all. Our government and police are by your side.”
Mamata arrived at the venue minutes after the Id prayers concluded.
She said the steps her government had taken on minority development were unmatched.
“From Bengal, I want to tell the entire world that no government has been able to match the kind of work our government has done for the minority community. Tell me if you have any problem, anything hurts you. Send a letter to my office. I will take up the matter,” Mamata said, drawing loud cheers.
The chief minister spoke about the initiatives taken by her government for the welfare of the minority community — reservation in government jobs for backward Muslims, reservation in higher education, scholarships for students from the minority community, marketing complexes for self-help groups and minority bhavans in districts.
“Around 95 per cent of Muslims have been covered under the reservation quota in the government sector. From the 2014 academic session, reservation in higher education will also be available,” Mamata said.
She said the government had fulfilled 100 per cent of the recommendations made by the Sachar committee.
The chief minister also mentioned the affidavit filed by the Bengal government in the Supreme Court requesting that the panchayat polls not be held in the holy month of Ramazan.
During her election campaign, the chief minister had blamed the Opposition and the state election commission for the timing of the polls.
Later today, Mamata wrote on her Facebook page: “Let us all think, speak and work with unity and humanity towards peace, prosperity and happiness for the state, nation and the entire world family.”
Before the chief minister arrived at Red Road, Qari Fazlur Rahman said most of those who died in violence during the rural elections were from the minority community.
“Seventy per cent of those killed in the panchayat polls were from the minority community. They gave their lives for the ruling party and the government. Now, the ruling party and the government should see to it that the community’s demands are met. Giving toys and lozenges is not going to help,” he said.
Qari Fazlur Rahman stressed on the promotion of education among minorities and demanded schools and colleges in places where they are lacking.
He alleged that communal forces were trying to increase their presence in Bengal.
“In the past two years, 116 branches of such organisations have come up in Bengal. The alarm bells are ringing and the government should look into it,” he said.