At a time when the Left Front is trying to keep its minority votes intact,the minorities’ organisations want the state government to declare Urdu as an official language in four subdivisions of Kolkata,Garden Reach,Asansol and Islampur.
To press for their demand,representatives of various Muslim organisations under the banner of Anjuman Taraqqui Urdu (Hindi) staged a demonstration at Rani Rashmini Road on Sunday.
At present along with Bengali,Nepali is also an official state language since 1961. The four subdivisions where Muslim organisations want Urdu to be declared as an official language have nearly 20 per cent Urdu speaking minority population.
“If our demand is not met then its effect will be seen in the elections. There are more than 60 Assembly seats where minorities play significant role during elections,” claimed a representative during the demonstration.
“Once Urdu is declared as an official state language then our children will have the opportunity to pursue their studies from primary to Masters level in one language. The students will be able take any state-level competitive examination in Urdu and this will open a number of employment opportunities for them,” said Mohammad Sulaiman Khurshid,general secretary,Anjuman Taraqqui Urdu (Hindi).
The demonstrators also said that if Urdu gets the status of an official state language then every government department in subdivisions will have to employ an Urdu officer which will increase the employment opportunity for Urdu students.
“In 1981,the state government had promised to recognise Urdu as an official state language in the form of a Chief Secretary Executive order but there has been no initiative on this,so we want an act to be passed in the Assembly declaring Urdu as the official state language,” said Khurshid.
Besides this,Muslim organisations also want question papers of every subject in Madhyamik examinations to be printed in Urdu. At present,there are about 100 Urdu medium schools in the state.
Minister of Madrasa Education and Minority Affairs Abduss Sattar said that it would be improper on his part to comment on the issue,as model code of conduct for Lok Sabha elections is on after the declaration of poll dates by the Election Commission.