Jan. 18: Mamata Banerjee today said she had implemented 90 per cent of the recommendations of the Sachar Committee for the uplift of minorities in Bengal, adding that lies were being spread and seeking to drive home her point by asking the audience if a top official was "Hindu or Muslim".
"I have implemented 90 per cent of the recommendations made by the Sachar Committee. The remaining 10 per cent will also be done. I have five years' time," Mamata told a government programme in Nadia's Haringhata.
At Haringhata and at North 24-Parganas' Amdanga later in the day, the chief minister did not name any leader but her comments came two days after Peerzada Toha Siddique, the director of Furfura Darbar Sharif in Hooghly, said the community would "not accept the lie" that she had "done 99 per cent of what had to be done".
The mazaar in Hooghly is a popular pilgrimage site and wields considerable influence over the Bengali Muslim community.
In the past few government programmes, Mamata had claimed that she had completed most of the work ' her claims ranged from 90 per cent to 95 per cent ' needed for the uplift of Muslims.
"Kono kono minority leader CPM ar Congress-er sathe idhar udhar bole berachhe shankhaloghuder kono kaaj hoyni. Ami jiggesh korte chai, 19 mash aage ek per cent reservation chilo ki? (Some minority leaders along with the CPM and the Congress are going around saying no work has been done for the uplift of the minorities. I want to ask if there was even 1 per cent reservation for minorities 19 months ago?)" the chief minister said at the programme in Amdanga.
People belonging mostly to the minority community attended the event.
At a meeting of madarsa students on Rani Rashmoni Avenue on Wednesday, Toha had said that if the government did not show honest intentions to work towards the uplift of Muslims, the community would "uproot" her government after five years.
Today, Mamata alleged that some minority leaders were trying to raise their stock in view of the panchayat elections.
"I am challenging such people. I may not belong to the Muslim community, but that does not mean I will not work for them. Keu keu boro mitthe kotha bolchhey (some people are telling too many lies)," the chief minister said.
"When I came to power, I asked for the backward classes bill. It (bill) was an eyewash. The Left Front government had prepared it without conducting a survey. The government did not sign it. It got challenged in court," Mamata said.
"We have prepared the bill after conducting the survey. Minorities have now got up to 12 per cent reservation in government jobs," she added, cautioning the community not to step into "the trap laid by people spreading canards" against her government.
Mamata said that of the 54 candidates recruited in judicial services, nine were Muslims. She did not specify when the recruitments were made.
"The PSC (public service commission) chairman is Nurul Haque. Is he Hindu or Muslim?" she asked.
The chief minister said her government was honouring imams and muezzins.
"I am hurt at the charges. Earlier, scholarships worth Rs 3 lakh were disbursed. We have raised it to Rs 36 lakh. There has been a 73 per cent hike in the minority affairs budget. Limitless lies are being told. We are giving loans, land deeds. I don't know if anyone else could have done anything more," she said.
Milli Council talks
An All India Milli Council delegation met President Pranab Mukherjee at Raj Bhavan this evening to apprise him of the problems of the minorities and measures to uplift them.
"The honourable President assured us that he will take up the issues of Muslims in Bengal with the Prime Minister and other policy-makers in the country," said Qari Fazlur Rahman, the president of the council in Bengal.