Nobody can dictate what to wear or eat: Mamata Banerjee at Furfura Sharif

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee today slammed the divisive forces in the country and the growing intolerance in India. She said no one has the right to dictate others what to eat or what to wear. Making a strong case for freedom of religion, she said that unity is strength and divisiveness spells doom.

Speaking at an event on the occasion of Minority Rights Day at Furfura Sharif, WB CM said under her government the budget of minority affairs department had increased five fold. “Few days ago a delegation of our MPs visited the Union Minister of Minority Affairs. They asked her to increase quota for scholarships,” she added.

WB CM announced the formation of Furfura Sharif Development Authority headed by Firhad Hakim. She allotted Rs 10 crore for the working of the board.

“Everybody has a right to religion. You can practice your faith freely. Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaai. Apas mein rehna bhai bhai,” the Chief Minister said.

Mamata Banerjee added: “We do not support Dadri killing. It is my right to eat fish. You can eat whichever meat you want. Some people wanted meat ban in Bengal during Durga Puja. I asked them will you ask a ban on fish? Don’t vegetables have life? Even plants have life. Will you ask people to stop eating vegetables? You eat what you want. Let others eat what they want.”

Vocally supporting the idea of ‘Sarva Dharma Samanyay’ she said, “Some people call their mother Ma, some call her Ammi. You cannot divide your mother. This is what Ramakrishna preached.”

In her speech, WB CM also listed the various initiatives by her government for minority development:

  • We have initiated several schemes worth Rs 75 crore at Furfura Sharif
  • We have increased budget for minority department five fold from Rs 470 Cr to Rs 2400 Cr
  • The Left distributed scholarships to 8 lakh minority students in last 4 years. We distributed scholarships to 84 lakh students
  • We have started Aliah University. Over 10000 people from Bengal went for Haj pilgrimage
  • We have introduced reservation for OBCs and minorities without touching general category
  • We have given computers to madrassahs. We are ready to recognise unaided madrassahs but we are unable to pay their salaries
  • Polytechnic colleges and ITIs are coming up. We are setting up Karma Tirthas where the youth will get jobs
  • We have built several hostels for students. We have built Minority Bhavan in 17 districts
  • We have given second language status to Urdu. We have set up Urdu Academy
  • We have instituted a Chair after Iqbal at Aliah University. He penned “Saare Jahaan Se Achha”

Delegation of Trinamool MPs meet Union minister of Minority Affairs

A delegation of Trinamool MPs today met the Union minority affairs minister Najma Heptullah to raise various issues regarding the upliftment of the minority communities in Bengal.

Leader of the party in Lok Sabha, Sudip Bandopadhyay and Leader of the party in Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien led the delegation.

The delegation included Lok Sabha MPs Saugata Roy, Sisir Adhikari, Dinesh Trivedi, Idrish Ali, Ratna De Nag, Mumtaz Sanghamita, Pratima Mondal, Aparupa Poddar and Rajya Sabha MPs Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, and Nadimul Haque.

The meeting was cordial. The delegation brought the minister up to date with the developmental initiatives taken by West Bengal government for upliftment of minorities. They told the minister that Bengal is the best among states in minority development.

The minister assured that she will visit Bengal soon in the new year.


Key issues were raised in the meeting:

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WB CM writes to Centre to reduce eligibility criteria for minority scholarships

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has requested the Union government to reduce the eligibility criteria or minimum percentage marks from 50 per cent to 45 per cent for giving scholarships to students belonging to minority communities. A letter in this regard has been sent by the Chief Minister to the Union Minister of Minority Affairs.

Presently, there are three scholarship schemes for minority communities namely, pre-matric scholarship for students of classes I to X, post-matric scholarship from classes XI to PhD and merit-cum-means scholarship for technical and professional courses at under-graduate and postgraduate levels.

The scholarships are awarded to the students who have secured more than 50 per cent marks in the previous final examination and whose parents’ annual income from all sources do not exceed Rs.1 lakh and 2 lakh for school and higher education respectively. Among the total scholarships, 30 per cent have been earmarked for girls.

According to the State Minority Affairs and Madrasa Education department, the scholarship scheme aims at empowerment through education and has the potential to help in the upliftment of the socio-economic conditions of the minority communities. Relaxing the eligibility criteria for availing the scheme would help more students to apply for the scholarships. It will encourage parents from minority communities to ensure their children’s schooling, said an official.

In 2014, a total of 4.8 lakh students from Bengal availed the scholarships under these categories. The number of students from Bengal who received the scholarships was the highest in the country.

Prior to this, the West Bengal Chief Minister had urged the Union Minority Affairs Ministry to extend the deadline for applying for online scholarships which the latter had accepted.

Will not allow communal tension in Bengal: WB CM

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee today said she will not allow anyone to incite communal tension in the state. She was speaking at ‘Progotir Pothe’, a felicitation programme organised by the Minority Development Department to honour achievers from the minority community in various fields.

She also said that in Bengal the government will not impose on people what to eat and what to wear.

WB CM congratulated the minority community for their good performance in WBCS; this year 26 out of 82 candidates who qualified the WBCS were from minority community. Four hundred students of the minority community qualified the MBBS examination and students also shined in the WBJEE examination.

She reiterated that she is working tirelessly for the development of the State, including minorities, despite the paucity of funds. The Chief Minister slammed the Left for leaving a huge debt legacy. She attacked the Centre for taking away every penny of the revenue of the State.

Se sought suggestions from various communities on welfare schemes and reiterated her commitment of providing speedy services to all.

She also highlighted the work done by the government in the last four years for the welfare of minorities:

  • We reviewed, surveyed and included Muslims under OBC reservation.
  • The budget of Minority Affairs Department from Rs 472 crore to Rs 2400 crore.
  • More than 50,000 people have performed Haj in the last four years.
  • 14,000 students were given education loans.
  • Minority Bhavans are being set up in the districts.
  • Government is working towards making Urdu the second language in minority-dominated areas.
  • 153 hostels for women from minority communities being set up.
  • A Urdu-medium Women’s College is coming up in Iqbalpur.
  • A pilgrim centre is being set up at Furfura Sharif.


WB CM felicitates achievers from minority community

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee felicitated as many as 169 members of the minority community for their achievement in various fields, during a programme at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here.

During the event, 25 students who had completed basic computer course under the Cybergram project of the state government were also rewarded. Three madrasa students were awarded for excellence in sports. One of them, Maqsood Alam Mollah had won a gold and a silver medal in cycling at the Paralympics held at Los Angeles in July. The other two — Rakibul Mollah and Biswajit Bauri – had been champion swimmers at the state level.

The West Bengal Chief Minister also honoured 25 members of minority community for clearing the state Civil Service Examination, 25 madrasa students for qualifying in the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination and 25 academic toppers from Aliah University. Besides these, there would be 60 individuals who would receive cheques of scholarships, talent support, loans and housing projects.

Will not allow communal violence in Bengal: WB CM at Milan Mela inauguration

The Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education Department of West Bengal and the West Bengal Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (WBMDFC) have organised Milan Mela 2015, which was inaugurated by the West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee at Netaji Indoor Stadium.

The fair would run from January 30 to February 4. With a tagline of ‘For Self-Employment and Communal Harmony,’ the fair aims to promote and assist entrepreneurs.

WBMDFC is involved in several beneficiary schemes like loans and scholarships, vocational training, talent support programmes.




 Highlights of WB CM speech:

  • Our government works for people of all religions.
  • Our Govt has given official recognition to Urdu, Nepali, Gurmukhi, Santhali languages.
  • We increased the budget of the Minority department for the welfare of people. We are paying for the debt incurred by the previous government. Centre is taking away our revenues.
  • We have given scholarships to more than 57 lakh students.
  • We have already set up Minority Bhavans in 15 districts. 5 more will come up soon.
  • We have given reservation for OBCs and minorities without touching general caste.
  • We are providing loans up to Rs 20 lakh for higher education.
  • People have got homes under Nija Griha Nija Bhoomi scheme.
  • We have set up Urdu Academy. We are setting up 2 Urdu Cultural Centres and a Hajj House.
  • Work for Aliah University was completed in very less time.
  • We are setting up English-medium, model madrasahs. We are providing computers to madrasahs.
  • Today is the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. We must observe this day to maintain communal harmony.
  • Some people are trying to incite violence and tension among different religions.
  • We will not allow communal violence in Bengal. We want peace. We want prosperity.
  • Indian Constitution is secular constitution. Some people are trying to carry out forcible conversions by giving money.
  • Why should someone force others to convert others? Who gave them that responsibility?
  • When you are in power you must follow good governance. Secularism is enshrined in the Constitution.
  • I am ready to sacrifice my life but I will not discriminate people based on their religion.
  • Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains – everyone is part of this country.
  • If anyone tries to incite violence between religions, law will take its own course. We will not spare anyone.
  • I am a member of the human family. We are in public life. We are dedicated to people’s work.
  • There is no use intimidating me. I was, am, and will always be with the people.


Image: File Photo