November 6, 2008

Kolkata is different, north Indians, minorities welcome here: Buddhadeb

Kolkata, October 31: Calling the spat between the north Indians and Maharashtrians as “parochialism”, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has assured that such incidents will never occur in the state.

Addressing a gathering of minorities at the foundation laying ceremony of an Urdu-medium school in Rajabazar, Bhattacharjee wondered as to how such restrictions could be imposed within ones own country. “No one can say that people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar cannot come to Kolkata. The situation in West Bengal and Kolkata is different. We are proud that Kolkata is a metropolitan city,” he said.

The chief minister very clearly expressed his displeasure over the schism that has occurred due to the communal strife in various parts of the country. “I cannot imagine such a thing happening in West Bengal where Muslims and Christians are attacked. Earlier they were destroying mosques, now they are burning churches,” he said. Bhattacharjee said he has written to the Centre for taking action against the people involved in such crimes.

Talking about the condition of minorities in the state, Bhattacharjee said the government was aware that minorities in the state were lagging behind even before the Sachar Committee report was published. About 25 per cent of the population in the state are minorities and they are lagging behind because of historical reasons, he added.

“For three years repeatedly I have asked the Centre to have a sub-plan for the development of minorities. But the Centre did not respond and so we have come up with the minority action plan in 12 districts across the state where the Muslim population is high,” said Bhattacharjee implying that the state government is keen on the development of the minorities.

The chief minister added that in West Bengal the state government has spent the maximum resources for the development of the minorities in the state compared to any other state in the country.

Rajasthan-Bengal Maitri Paishad: As the country is being torn apart on the basis of regional identities, the CPM is all set to keep such sentiments within the state at bay. This time, it is the Rajasthani community, which the Marxists intend to impress in Kolkata. The first step towards this was the formation of the Rajasthan-Bengal Maitri Paishad that will be formally launched on November 3.
Express News Service
Posted: Nov 01, 2008 at 0202 hrs

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