April 3, 2012
Chief Minister proposes financial aids for the clerics
‘Nara-e-Takbir’ and ‘Allah Hu Akbar’ was heard all over the Netaji Indoor stadium on Tuesday afternoon, nearly 20,000-imams (Muslim clerics) attended a gathering which was addressed by West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee. The idea behind the meeting was to interact with all the Imams in the state and listen to their problems and try to solve as much as possible. Aggrieved over the condition of the Imams the Chief Minister said she will try to give some respite to them on the financial front, however she maintained that it will not be easy proposition to shed of a large chunk of money for the cause yet, “State will set up a task force on assistance to imams headed by waqf board chairman Md Abdul Gani, which will give recommendations within 15 days If there are no objections, 30,000 imams in the state will receive an honorarium of 2,500 each per month from April 15”, said Ms. Mamata Banerjee.
Maulana Kasim Ali Rizvi said that by announcing her decision to make Urdu the second language in districts with a minority population of 10% or more, Mamata has done what the Congress never did. “The imams are going through a lot of trouble. The community is with the imams. If the government does something for the imams, the Almighty will stand by Mamata,” he said. The entire gathering was in all praise for the Chief Mistier and cheered her decision. “This is a historic meeting and a golden opportunity for you all. You are the community leaders. In Kolkata, 77-imams receive some support from the Board of Waqfs. In rural areas, the imams receive no support. I have a proposal but before it is implemented, I want to make sure there are no objections from your religion. I will set up a task force headed by Waqf Board Chairman Md Abdul Gani and others. The task force will decide and give its recommendations within a fortnight. If there are no objections”, added Ms. Banerjee.
“We came here because she is secular and honest. She has taken a decision to make Urdu an official language. We may not have come here had other leaders invited us,” said Shahi Imam Noor Ur Rahman Barkati. Chief Minister urged the Imams to approach the urban development minister for subsidized housing. Elsewhere, they can apply for the ‘Nija Bhoomi, Nija Griha Scheme’, under which the state will provide three cottahs of land and some money to them to build a house to the beneficiary. “I am willing to give all the support to the Imams in the state. But there may limitations imposed by Shariat laws. I will abide by the regulations of the Wakf Board”, said Chief Minister.
The programme ended with a pious message from the Peer Saheb Sufi Abdul Rehman praised the work of Ms. Mamata Banerjee and offered prayers for the betterment of the Bengal.