Left parties support Muslim quota in West Bengal

By Zaidul Haque for TwoCircles.net,

Kolkata: In a bid to woo West Bengal Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind leader Maulana Siddiqullah Chowdhury, whose mass movement for Muslim quota preceded the state government decision favoring the demand, and the decisive Muslim votes, a Cabinet Minister of the Left Front Government has invited Chowdhury to form a united Muslim front on the issue and called upon the Muslim community to get united for it.

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“In West Bengal, Muslims should get united and make a new platform to pressurize the state government for reservation of Muslims in the state,” state Cabinet Minister of Land & Land Reforms Mr Abdur Rezzak Molla said yesterday here in a conference on “Why reservation necessary for Muslims in West Bengal?” Mr. Molla welcomed the Jamiat leader Maulana Chowdhury to form the front. The program was held at Muslim Institute Auditorium in Kolkata.

Land Reform Minister of West Bengal Govt. Mr. Abdur Razzak Molla, Dr. M Nuruzzaman, Santosh Rana, Maulana Siddiqullah Chowdhuri, Surajit Dasgupta, Sukriti Ranjan Biwas

The conference called by a newspaper and an NGO was attended by intellectuals and politicians of all parties except BJP. The main speakers were Maulana Siddiqullah Chowdhury and State Minister Abdur Rezzak Molla. Among others who addressed the gathering were Mr. Sukritiranjan Biswas (Republican Party), Mr. Santosh Rana (CPI-ML), Dr. M. Nuruzzaman (State Chairman, Trinamul Congress, Minority Cell), Dr. Raisuddin (Jamat e Islami Hind), Journalist Mr. Ahmad Hasan Imran. The Chairman of this conference was historian Dr. Surajit Dasgupta.

The conference offered a rare sight when CPI-M Minister was sharing the dais with ‘rival’ Maulana Siddiqullah Chowdhury.

In February this year West Bengal Govt. declared 10% reservation for Muslims in the OBC category. But the question being raised now is how the government will find out the OBC category Muslims and implement its decision when among the Muslims only 2% may be listed as OBC.

In his speech, Siddiqullah Chowdhury demanded reservation for Muslims in all Govt sectors of West Bengal according to percentage of Muslim population. He warned the West Bengal Govt in presence of their Cabinet Minister Abdur Rezzak Molla: “In West Bengal only a few Maoists have thrashed the administration in certain areas of Midnapur District. They are continuing the agitation for development of those areas. Muslims in West Bengal are nearly 30% and more than 2.5 crore in number. If they start agitation like Maoists the State Govt cannot stop them.”

Chowdhury called all Muslims and non Muslims to join hands in favour of Reservation for Muslims in the state. He declared that rallies will be organized all over West Bengal to demand Muslim reservation.

Before the Assembly elections of 2011, the Left Front Government of West Bengal will have to declare reservation for whole Muslim community in the state, otherwise the community will have no option but to throw them out of the power, Maulana Siddiqulla announced. He also warned Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress to speak in favour of Muslim reservation in West Bengal, otherwise Muslims might not vote for it.

Land & Land Reform Minister of West Bengal Abdur Rezzak Molla also shouted in favour of Muslim reservation. But he could not answer as to why the state Govt did not give reservation to Muslims in the last 32 years. Molla reminded the audience that being a cabinet minister and member of CPI-M, there is some binding on him. He, however, called Muslims to get united and make a common new platform for Muslim reservation. Molla assured that he will always support this kind of activities.

He also demanded to remove the ST/SC reservation tag from six constituencies where Muslims are far more in number than SC/ST.

CPI-ML leader Mr. Santosh Rana also supported the reservation and said Muslims should have right to get reservation because they are most backward class community in West Best. In respect of backwardness every community should get the reservation as per their population.

Republican Party’s Mr Sukriti Ranjan Biswas also forwarded Dr. Ambedkar’s vision. He said, Muslim reservation is justified and demanded government to declare the proportional reservation immediately for the whole Muslims.

Trinamul Congress leader and Chairman of West Bengal Trinamul Congress Minority Cell Dr. M. Nuruzzaman said, communist left front in West Bengal should follow the Leftist Kerala that has given reservation to Muslims. He remembered his father late Hasanuzzaman, Muslim League MLA, who was the first to demand reservation for Muslims in West Bengal when he was in the Ministry in the 1970s.

Ahmed Hasan Imran, editor of Bengali language newspaper ‘Kalom’ said, besides the demand of Muslim reservation we should make a movement against the communal elements of West Bengal Govt. He gave the example of Hooghly Madrasa. He condemned Govt of West Bengal for trying to stop Islamic learning and close the historical Hooghly Madrasa.

Chairman of the conference Dr. Surajit Dasgupta called upon Muslims to build up political power, only then they can overcome their problems.