March 22, 2009

Shahi Imam bats for Trinamool-Cong combine

Kolkata: With less than a month for the Lok Sabha polls, Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque S M Noorur Rahman Barkati appealed to the Muslim voters of the state to vote for candidates put up by the Trinamool-Congress alliance so that a Congress government can be formed at the Centre.

“What would happen in Singur if Mamata Banerjee was not there?” he asked. “In the last 32 years when the CPM has been in power, nothing has been done to uplift the minorities. We have no access to education or government jobs. The Sachar Committee report shows the sad state of the Muslims in West Bengal,” he added.

The Shahi Imam said when the Left Front government was establishing itself, it took away land from the zamindars and distributed it among the poor. “At that time the Muslim community stood by the Left Front. But today they are taking away land from the poor and giving it to the Tatas,” he said. He added that over the last three decades the “Left Front raj” has become the “gunda raj of the cadres”.

He lambasted the CPM for voting together with the BJP against the secular Congress government in the Centre last year. Pointing out the various problems of the Muslim community in Bengal, he said the Left Front government has not been able to fulfil its promise of making Urdu a second language in schools. “They have taken over our colleges like Lady Brabourne College and now our girls find it difficult to get admission there,” he said.

The Shahi Imam also said he had a discussion with the Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee that when she comes to power, she will try to fulfill the demands of the minority community.

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