Over 10,000 Muslim clerics are expected to hit the streets on November 8 in protest against ‘unfulfilled promises’ of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“The CM had started giving an honorarium to imams and moizzins of Rs 2,500 and Rs 1,000 respectively. We believe that the amount, which was already too small, had no appreciation in over five years now,” Md Kamruzzaman, general secretary of the All Bengal Minority Youth Federation (ABMYF), told The Indian Express. “There are instances when funds have stopped for six months and then resumed on the seventh month. No one seems to know what happened to that money,” he added.
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Members of around 40 organisations of imams and moizzins are likely to participate in the meeting organised by the ABMYF at Rani Rashmoni Avenue.
Senior members of a participating association said Mamata had also proposed land and home for imams which they had not received either. “Mamata had promised that imams would receive homes under the ‘Nijo Jomi Nijo Griho’ housing scheme but no imam has received anything so far. The process of giving money to 52,000 imams should also be streamlined,” said ATM Rafiqul Hassan, president of All Bengal Imam and Moizzin Samity. “The amount of Rs 2,500 is too small. It should be raised to at least Rs 20,000 for imams and Rs 10,000 for moizzins,” said Shafique Qasmi, imam, Nakhoda Masjid.
Syed Md Nurur Rahman Barkati, imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid, who is known for his proximity to the CM, said, “We can always say that the government should pay more attention towards this but I don’t think it is sensible to demand anything because it is only a favour that the government has been doing and that too being so cash-strapped.”
Qari Fazlur Rehman, the imam who leads the largest Muslim congregation during Eid namaz on Red Road, said, “The promises of homes for imams she made before coming to power should be kept.”
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