By Zaidul Haque, TwoCircles.net,
Kolkata: More than two thousand teachers of un-aided Madrasah sat on ‘indefinite’ hunger strike in Kolkata on June 18, Wednesday demanding recognition, mid-day meal, text book, uniform, etc. They, however, withdrew from their protest on Thursday after two TMC MPs Ahmed Hassan and Idris Ali met them and assured them that the Chief Minister of West Bengal has promised to seriously look into the matter.
After taking over the rein of the state Chief Minister Mamata Banerje had assured to give recognition to at least 10 thousand unaided madrasahs. She has not yet been able to fulfill this promise though.
Hunger strike of unaided madrasa teacher Md kamruzzaman of ABMC.
Over 2000 Madrasah teachers from 237 un-aided Madrasahs from across the state participated in the hunger strike. The hunger strike of the un-aided Madrasah teachers was called by All Bengal Minority Council (ABMC). Besides recognition protesters also demanded funds to construction of the Madrasah Building, Mid-Day Meal, and Uniforms, etc.
Secretary of the ABMC Muhammad Kamruzzaman said that WB CM had assured to recognize ten thousand madrasahs, but so far only 237 of them have been recognized, and that too with financial aid; and consequently they do not get Mid-day Meal, Uniform, Books, funds to build the Madrasah Building etc from the government.
He reminded the government of a circular Vide memo no 221(19)-MD/O/2M-14/13 dated 8th February of 2013 by Former Joint Secretary of the Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education Department of West Bengal P B Salim (IAS) who had written that after recognition by the government, text books, Mid-day meal facilities will be made available to these institutions by the Government of West Bengal.
The said circular read, “The recognition will enable these Madrasah to access financial assistance from Government of India, State Government in the shape of infrastructure grants, ACR grants etc, as well as from funds like MP Lads, Bidhyayak Elaka Unnayan Prakalpa, Local Government bodies etc.”
He said that they had also written a letter in February, early this year, to Mamata Banerjee and urged her to fulfill her promise.
One of the teachers, Abdus Salam, who was participating in the hunger strike told TCN that if the government does not take necessary steps now dropouts among poor Muslim students would rise.
Hunger strike of unaided Madrasa teacher present lady teacher also.
The lax attitude of government was evident when on Wednesday TCN contacted Giasuddin Molla, Minister of state of Minority Affairs and Madarasah Education Department. He told TCN that he is not aware of any such hunger strike, adding he is busy in organizing the Scholarship distribution programme of West Bengal Minority Development and Finance Corporation held on 19th June, 2014 where Mamata Banerjee was the chief guest.
President of West Bengal Board of Madrasah Education Fazle Rabbi had termed the protest “illegal” for holding dharna inside the Board premises without taking permission from the board authority. He, however, assured that he was ready to talk to them if they are willing.
After sitting on dharna for 24 hours, on Thursday the protesters finally called of the strike after half an hour meeting with the CM’s emissaries, Ahmed Hassan and Idris Ali. They assured the protesters that Mamata Banerjee is serious about solving the impasse.