People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 42

October 21, 2007

Bengal LF Govt Shall Continue To Look To The Development Of The Muslims


BENGAL Left Front government shall strive to be by the side of the minorities in Bengal, looking as in the past towards their welfare, development, security, comfort, and happiness. This was said by Bengal chief minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, while he was in an interactive session with representatives of the Muslim organisations and Muslim intellectuals at his chamber in the Writers’ Buildings recently.


Buddhadeb put the message across firmly and clearly that special emphasis would continue to be attached to the overall development and financial well-being of the Muslims in Bengal. The Left Front government looks to the Muslims, and indeed to members of the other minority communities like the Christians, the Buddhists, the Jains et al, as human beings and as citizens —and not as people representing a particular community or faith.


Attending the session were the leadership of such organisations as the Millie council, the Jamiat-ulama-e Bangla, the Jamiat ulama-e Hind, the Jamiat-i Islam, and members of the minorities commission. Also in attendance were LF ministers Abdur Rezzak Mollah and Abdus Sattar, and CPI(M) MP Mohd Salim.


Speaking about the report of the Rajinder Sachar committee, Buddhadeb pointed out that the document did not take proper cognizance of land reforms and redistribution of land amongst the rural poor, plus the recognition of bargadari rights. However, the reality has to be acknowledged that the representation of the Muslims in the realms of government service and service in the private sector was less than it should have been. This was being looked into and over the years, changes for the better could be brought about in the structure.




Citing examples, the chief minister pointed out that Bengal was the only state that had had a sub-plan included for the Muslims, something to which successive union governments would not pay heed or attach importance. A bunch of plans and programmes are already set in motion for the social and economic uplift of the Muslims in Bengal, and more projects were in the offing, Buddhadeb assured the leadership present when queried about the issue of development.




Leaders of the Jamiat ulama-e Hind called for a CBI inquiry into the death of a Muslim youth of the Tiljala-Topsia area. Buddhadeb responded by pointing to the fact that a CID inquiry as well as a judicial probe were ‘on.’ Buddhadeb also explained that both the CID and the CBI were investigating agencies of the police and the principal difference was not in functioning but in affiliation: the former was a state government apparatus while the latter was part of the union government.


The chief minister commented in passing that the CBI was not much of a success, as the imam of the Tipu Sultan mosque was recently found pointing out, in cases that involved the Gujarat genocide, the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the theft of the Nobel medallion of Tagore from Visva-Bharati etc. The moot point was not the identity of the investigating agency but justice that must be done swiftly and visibly.


The comprehensive judicial probe, its terms of reference already declared, Buddhadeb iterated, ‘shall prevail’ and that it was expected to complete its work of inquiry within three months. Buddhadeb declared firmly that no one and nothing would ever be allowed to interfere with the safety, security, and comfort of the Muslims, as indeed with any individual or group or community in Bengal.




On the issue of reservation for Muslims that was raised during the interactive session by some representatives of Muslim organisations present, the chief minister explained that the issue involved the Indian Constitution and that in at least one instance, the High Court went against a decision in this regard by a state government. A discussion could be initiated in Bengal in this regard on this issue of reservation for Muslims, in the days ahead.


The chief minister also spoke on the issue of industrialisation and employment generation and called for views from the leaders of the organisations present. Buddhadeb responded to the issue concerning the contents of books by the writer Taslima Nasreen and said that the Left front government would respect sentiments of all communities and groups. The LF government shall continue to enhance and widen communal integrity and harmony, Buddhadeb said, concluding the session. (B P)