Defending the “extra help” to the minority community, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday brushed aside allegations that her government was appeasing them and said she was only carrying out her constitutional responsibilities.
“Some are saying that we are only giving stress for (development of) the minorities. Why shall I not do it? Certainly I will do it. The word ‘minority’ seems to be disturbing for some people. We must understand that even Bengalis would be minorities in some other state,” Mamata said.
Asking the “majority” to come forward to help “members of the minority community who are lagging behind in the field of education and jobs”, Mamata said, “It is our responsibility to help them come ahhad”.”
“Some people only to try to create communal disharmony,” she said, adding that her government would not allow any suchattempt and offenders would be strongly dealt with “irrespective of their faith”.
She was addressing a programme jointly put up by the department of minority affairs, Madrasa education department and West Bengal Minority Development and Finance Corporation (WBMDFC) to distribute loans and scholarships to minority students.
Addressing the gathering, Abu Ayes Mondal, chairman, WBMDFC, gave a detailed break up of the money spent under various heads. “Term loan amounting to Rs 7.45 crore, education loan worth Rs 3.06 crore and micro loan worth Rs 20 crore were distributed among 22,296 members of the minority community. Besides, 2.5 lakh students got pre-matric scholarship amounting to Rs 30.39 crore, 1.53 lakh students got postgraduate scholarship totalling Rs 54.03 crore and Rs 14 lakh was distributed among 140 women under the women empowerment scheme,” Mondal said.
Thirty-eight students who ranked in top 10 of Alim, Fazil and Madrasa High examinations were felicitated with a laptop, said Prof Fuzl-e-Rabbi, president, Madrasa Board.