In a major embarrassment for the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government which has gone all out to woo the minority community, one of the major Muslim groups has complained about the little improvement in minority development under the present dispensation from what the situation was during the earlier Left Front government.
According to the All Bengal Minority Youth Federation, the biggest mass organisation of Muslim youths in the state, this lack of improvement is the result of the present government’s decision to include non- Muslims in the Other Backward Classes-A (OBC-A) category.
Incidentally, during the erstwhile Left Front regime, only Muslims were included in the OBC-A category while the nonMuslims were included in the OBC-B category.
The federation on Wednesday submitted a memorandum to the state minority affairs and madrasa education department secretary, Sahidul Islam, demanding the revival of the old system, that is, the inclusion of only Muslims in the OBC-A category and increasing the reservation for Muslims from 10% to 27%.
Speaking to reporters after submitting the deputation, the federation general secretary, M Kamaruzzaman, told mediapersons that another factor that is depriving eligible Muslim youths from getting job reservation under the OBC quota is the decision of the state government to select the youths on the basis of their surnames.
“Muslim youths with surnames such as Shoaib and Sheikh are often deprived of the facility of reservation even though many of them come from below poverty line families. So our demand is that economic condition should be the basis of reservation where the creamy layer of Muslims should be excluded,” said Kamaruzzaman.
He also alleged that often the negligence on part of the district authorities is leading to non-utilisation of central funds under the multi-sectoral development programme (MSDP) meant for the development of districts with a large population of minorities.
“So we have demanded that there should be a separate Minority Development Board on the lines of the Sunderbans Development Board and the North Bengal Development Board, so that the central funds under MSDP can be utilised properly,” said the federation general secretary.
He also alleged that Muslim groups that have been identified by the state government as OBCs are not recognised by the Union government, which is depriving many eligible Muslim youths from getting jobs in central services or even in central gover nment under takings and banks under the OBC quota.
“We will organise a protest rally to the Prime Minister’s house in New Delhi against such injustice on November 18,” he said.