Politics of Mamata”s magnanimity
Giving fillip to Muslim fundamentalism?
Asim Kumar Mitra
Siddiqulla Chowdhury, State President of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, has again started vomiting communal venom. He has given a clarion call to all the Muslim brethren of West Bengal to stand behind the imams to refuse the amount of honorarium offered to them because the amount (Rs 2,500 per month) is too small to support a family. Secondly the government is offering this amount to a very small number of imams.
Siddiqulla said this in an annual congregation of his organisation on April 19, 2012 at Barddhaman, 60 kms. away from Kolkata. He said that there are 67,000 masjids in the State and the number of imams are more than a lakh. But the government figures say that the total numbers of masjids in the State is 12,465 of which 1,400 masjids are registered by the Wakf Board and the remaining are unregistered masjids. Mamata has committed to give honorarium to imams of registered masjids only and thus Siddiqulla and his henchmen are not satisfied with the government offer.
In this connection, the major question that has come up is that wherefrom these (54,535 masjids) unregistered, unau-thorised and illegal masjids sprang up? Was the government sleeping and did not notice this development? It seems that Muslims did not abide by the rules of ‘birth control’ in the case of masjids as they willfully denied this rule to be followed in the Muslim families.
He said that they do not want honorarium, instead they want employment and security for the whole Muslim community whose number, according to him, stands at 3 crore. It would be around 32 or 33 per cent of the present population of the State. If Siddiqulla’s figures are correct then it would be a three-fold increase in the number of Muslims since the last census a decade ago. So they are threatening the whole society with dire consequences if their demands are not met. People do express their agony over this development in private conversation. But no public statement was issued against them by any party.
Curiously enough, it was noticed that except the BJP not a single political party has went against the Chief Minister Mamata over the issue of honorarium offer to Imams of West Bengal government. BJP is the only party to stand for the interest of poor Hindu priests, who have been not only ignored but neglected by the so called secular parties. BJP is the lone political party who has filed a Public Interest Litigation in Kolkata High Court against the government. According to them honorarium offer to imams is highly communal and it was in gross violation of Indian Constitutional provisions.
When Mamata Banerjee and her TMC were in Opposition, Siddiqulla was very close to Mamata. In number of occasions Siddiqulla had bailed her out from the apprehended danger perpetrated by the Muslims. But Trinamool Congress’s minority cell chief Idris Ali has openly put an allegation against Siddiqulla saying he (Siddiqulla) had expected that he would be nominated for the Rajya Sabha seat from TMC quota. But when he found that ‘Didi’ did not nominate him, he became furious. In fact Siddiqulla is travelling throughout the State with a single point programme of instigating Muslims for creating an unstable situation through group clashes, riots etc. When he went to Nadia district he was gheraoed by the Muslims belonging to TMC.
Nevertheless it is a fact that the provocative speeches of Siddiqulla have already created an atmosphere surcharged with communal sentiment and hatred among one and all. He has started playing communal cards with a calculated goal in mind. When Siddiqulla mentions about the existence of 67, 000 masjids, there may be some exaggeration, but when he says that three crore Muslims are there in West Bengal, he is not far from truth and there lies the apprehended danger.
It is to be seen how Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is going to handle this problem. She is going to complete one year as Chief Minister on May 23, 2012, during this period Muslims, among other minority groups have been taking upper hand in almost all the areas and people of this State are convinced that it was because of Mamata Banerjee’s over enthusiasm towards Muslim affairs. Hence the majority community have become worried with the ongoing development of communal situation.?