State BJP president Dilip Ghosh Thursday slammed the state government for issuing circular directing state-run schools to construct a dining room for midday meal in all state-run schools with more than 70 per cent minority students.
Uploading a copy of the circular on his Twitter handle, Ghosh wrote, “The West Bengal Government has issued a circular whereby it has directed the school authorities where 70 per cent or more students are from the Muslim community to reserve a dining hall with seating arrangements for them. Why this discrimination between the students on the basis of religion? Is there some other malafide motive behind this segregation? Another conspiracy?”
The circular was issued by Cooch Behar district magistrate office (minority section) on Tuesday. It asked the district inspector of schools to send names of the government-run and government-aided schools having over 70 per cent minority students so that a dining hall for midday meal could be constructed. The circular also mentions that instruction for such a measure came from the State Minority Affairs and Madrasa Education Department.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee holds this portfolio with Gias Uddin Mollah being the minister of state of this department.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Mollah said they are just utilising funds which have been allocated for Madrasa education.
“Funds have been allotted and we are utilising it by issuing such a circular. We are not doing anything extra for the minority students as funds for such measures have been given to us by both the state and central governments. In places where 70 per cent or more minority students are there, we are also constructing hostels for them,” Mollah told the newspaper.
Asked to comment on whether this would be seen as discrimination, the state minister said, “Our department deals with minority education. I cannot comment on other schools as it falls under school education department.”
State education minister Partha Chatterjee was not available for comments.