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September 11, 2011

Page: 2/42

Home > 2011 Issues > September 11, 2011

Special Report
Mamata in minority trap
Majority community feels slighted

By Asim Kumar Mitra

CHIEF Minister Mamata Banerjee was invited to attend the largest Id congregation (according to Kolkata Police about four lakhs were present at the venue) on Red Road of Kolkata and she was present there. This is for the first time in the history of West Bengal that any Chief Minister had participated in Id-Namaaz. Qari Fazlur Rahman, the Imam was conducting the Id prayers. But before delivering the sermon, he delivered a 20-minute speech in Urdu which was full of accusations against the three and half months old Mamata government.

Imam said, “The new government has shown remarkable urgency in solving the Singur issue, the Gorkhaland issue and the Jungle Mahal issue. But the urgency cannot be seen when it comes to sorting out the problems of the Muslim community.”

Then the Imam practically had dared the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee by saying, “They (the new government) must learn a lesson from what happened to the previous government. The former government promised a lot of things but delivered very little. As a result, they were wiped out. If these people (the new government) take us for granted it won’t take us much time to show them the door.”

The Imam wanted to give a message to the Muslim community of this state and that message was nothing but “Be Prepared”. Be prepared for what? The answer was very clear which has been spelt out in the speech of the Imam. The message has spread across the Muslim community. And, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee isn’t taking it lightly. Minutes after Qari Fazlur Rahman made it clear during his address to the Id congregation at Red Road on August 31 that the new government should not take their support for granted, Mamata told the community leaders that she would meet them sometime after the Kali Puja (Diwali).

Mamata said “it was not possible for her to meet them now because of the model code of conduct that has come into force after the assembly by polls were announced. (As Mamata is now an MP, she has to become an MLA and for that purpose she is contesting the assembly by poll from Bhawanipur constituency of Kolkata. The by poll will take place on September 25.) She promised that she would meet them after the Kali Puja”.

This has got a background which one must properly follow. In the year 2006, November, Justice Rajendra Sachar had published the report of the Commission for Minority of which he was the chairman. In that report Justice Sachar had specifically mentioned that the condition of Muslims in West Bengal, as compared to other states, was worst. Even the Muslims living in Gujarat were far better off than their kin living in West Bengal.

This had infuriated them so much that they had decided to take revenge over the CPI-M-led Left Front government. The Left Front had tasted their first defeat in the Panchayat election of the state in 2008, after three decades of their uninterrupted rule. In this connection one should not forget that Muslims constitute 26 per cent of the total population of the state. It comes to about 2.75 crore and 90 per cent of this population live in rural areas of Bengal. Hence they not only influence but dominate the election. It was evident in the following elections as well. Municipal election in 2008, Parliamentary elections in 2009 and ultimately Assembly election in 2011 had miserably disappointed the CPI-M. No damage control mechanism of Left parties could put them in a comfortable position.

Mamata, on the other hand, had taken full advantage of the situation. She went on giving even uncalled for promises to them. Muslims, by keeping Mamata in good humour, had started consolidating their position. The results of the Assembly election had revealed a curious fact that the Muslims of this state control at least 90 assembly segments and they claim that they are in a position to dictate terms in these areas. Mamata was compelled to become a silent spectator to this unfortunate scenario. Because the result of the assembly election had established that the Muslims had not only increased their vote-share but they have increased the number of Muslim MLAs from 43 in 2006 to 58 in 2011 registering an increase of 15 Muslim MLAs in the assembly. The break-up of the Muslim MLAs belonging to different political parties is as follows:- Trinamool Congress (TMC) 25, Indian National Congress (INC) 15, CPI-M 12, RSP 2, FB 2, SP 1, Independent 1. With this strength Muslims are in a position to threat the Chief Minister in tough language. But Mamata had shown her natural guts to counter the Muslim-allegation put against her government.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on September 1, (that is the very next day of Id congregation) ordered a CBI probe into the multi-crore Waqf Board scam. While summing up a rather acrimonious budget debate, in the assembly on the minority affairs and madrasa education department, a portfolio she heads, Mamata claimed an investigation was on to find out how funds meant for the Minority Development Corporation were being invested in private banks and shares. “I have retained this department for a sole reason – I don’t want it to be neglected,” she asserted.

After coming to power, in May, Mamata announced that her government would recognise Urdu as the second language in districts with sizeable Urdu speaking population. The notification awaited still. Muslim organisations further complained that new job distribution under the Mamata government has not been judicious towards Muslim youths. Abdul Aziz, state secretary of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat said, “According to representatives of the socio-religious organisations, there is a constant pressure from the educated Muslim youth on the clergy to take up their cause for education and jobs.”

Aziz further said, “I am afraid that the Trinamool leaders from the minority community do not have enough courage to do some straight talk with Mamata”.

Hence it is clear that Muslims in Bengal are not sitting idle. They know how to grab their pound of flesh. So they have already started their ‘blow hot and blow cold’ game. They have reminded Mamata in very rude language that she is in power because of their mercy. And this mercy was not given on gratis. Muslims called Mamata in their biggest ever Id-congregation to threat her that “don’t forget the promises given to them. Do not keep them waiting for a long time. Otherwise they will have to face the same music as the former government. Although Mamata was trying to show a brave face but at the heart of hearts she knows how weak is she in the face of Muslim pressure.

On the other hand, the majority community of the state is still mesmerised with the idea that by ousting communists from the seat of power after three and half decades. It is true that only Mamata could and she had done it. But now time has come to face the hard realities. How in rural Bengal people belonging to majority community have reduced to minority and living in wretched condition. This is especially noticeable in the India-Bangladesh bordering districts of West Bengal. There was riot between Hindu and Muslims in Deganga in North 24-Parganas district just before assembly election. That riot-like situation is still prevailing in almost all the border districts. By now the people belonging to majority community know that if they want to live peacefully they have to buy it from the Muslims.

Unfortunately no organised effort has been noticed on the part of Hindus to at least alert the Chief Minister about the pros and cons of the situation prevailing in these areas. The role of so called national media is miserably shameful. But time has come when the Chief Minister of the state should be reminded of her duty towards the majority community and to be alerted that she should not take these people for granted for long.

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