February 13, 2010


When the Home Minister came to Kolkata to meet the chief ministers of Bengal, Orissa, and Jharkhand over the modus operandi to “tackle ‘Maoist’ violence,” Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee handed over to him a slim document that summed up the continuity of developmental work going on relentlessly, with the welfare of the poor firmly in sight, in the violence-affected jangal mahal.

We can briefly summarise the basic premises of the six page document, thus.

1. The expenditure of allocated amount of REGA for Midnapore west has increased by nearly 98% from 2008 to 2009 with an additional creation of close to 85% of man-days

2. In Purulia the concomitant figures are respectively close to 147%, and 180%

3. In Bankura by the same criteria, the figures that are arrived at are 80% and 94%

4. There has been a doubling or more of expenditure in the supply of potable water with other allocations for development of the supply-related infrastructure in these districts

5. The laal maati or red clay area has seen in this period creation of nearly 800 km of pucca and metalled road with 275 km about to be completed as an additional component.

6. Until December of last year, more than 30 thousand of the poor have been in receipt of shelter under the Awas Yojana

7. 50 thousand ST elderly have received pension as members of the BPL

8. Nearly 14 thousand forest patta have been distributed

9. The total amount of land under pattadari thus reaches 5300 acres

10. The three red clay districts witness the successful running of 74 ICDS projects afresh plus 18 thousand Anganwadi Kendras

The document clearly shows how the pro-poor developmental efforts could be carries on relentlessly by the popular Bengal Left Front government despite obstacles of every kind having been thrown on the path of progress, and the bourgeois media have been at their best (worst?) trying spread canards about how the red clay zones remain in the backwater of development(INN).


BURDWAN,10th February,2010: Comrade Ram Narayan Goswami, former member of the central committee of the CPI (M) and a veteran of the all-India kisan movement passed away 9th February night at Burdwan. He has been ill for a long time with geriatric-related problems. Biman Basu, secretary of the Bengal CPI (M) and Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee have expressed their deep condolences at the passing away of the Communist veteran.

Born at a village near Naihati in what was then undivided 24 Parganas, comrade Goswami became associated with the Communist movement when a student at the Burdwan Raj college. He became a party member as far back as 1957. The same year saw him incarcerated by the then Congress government for his taking part in the historic food movement that swept Bengal.

As a CPI (M) leader from 1964, comrade Goswami acted as the confidential assistant to the late comrade Harekrishna Konar in the first UF government. By then, comrade Goswami had become a Party wholetimer. He was elected as the all-India general secretary of the AIKS back in 1975 at Khammam.

Comrade Goswami was elected to the CPI (M) state committee in 1977, and until he passed away, he remained a member of the state committee although later on as an invitee member. He was elected to the CPI (M) CC in 1990 and was the chairman of the state CPI (M) control commission in 2003. In between, he was briefly the state health minister in 1983, and was a three-time member of the Rajya Sabha from Bengal(INN).


KOLKATA: 9th February, 2010: The two state governments of Bengal and Jharkhand would join forces to corner and isolate the ‘Maoists’ in the two provinces, and there would be joint ops with participation of the various categories of police and para-military forces. The meeting convened at the Writers Buildings by union Home Minister P Chidambaram was attended among other by the chief minister of Orissa and by the two deputy chief ministers of Jharkhand.

Asked by the media later whether there existed a link between the ultra left sectarians and the Trinamul Congress, the Home Minister was unequivocal in his response that no political party participating in the parliamentary democratic process could or should maintain such connections. There are seventeen companies of the para-militaries and the police in ops in the jangal mahal, we recall.

This slap in the face of an ally was sought be covered up with frantic desperation by the bourgeois media whose scions were now out to prove that the Home Minister did not mention the concerned political outfit by name. However, the Home Minister did concede that the union government was ready for a dialogue with the ‘Maoists’ provided the latter put a stop to their acts of ‘sabotage’ as the Home Minister put it(INN).

Muslims welcome 10 percent job quota in West Bengal

2010-02-09 18:30:00

The 10 percent quota in government jobs for backward Muslims in West Bengal is being welcomed by leaders of the community who say it's not really enough but add that something is better than nothing.

Maulana Abdul Hamid Nomani of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind described the move as a 'step in the right direction' for the welfare of backward Muslims in West Bengal.

'But it is not enough considering the pathetic socio-economic situation of Muslims (in the state). Nonetheless something is better than nothing,' Nomani, the Jamiat spokesperson, told mediapersons.

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind is one of the leading Islamic organisations in India founded in 1919 with its organisational network spread all over India.

The Communist government in West Bengal Monday announced 10 percent reservation in government jobs for other backward classes among Muslims.

The move comes years after a government appointed committee observed that in West Bengal where 25 percent population is Muslim, their share in government jobs was a paltry 4.2 percent.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on expected lines, has criticised the announcement, saying it was unconstitutional to give reservations on religion lines.

But Nomani differs. He said backward classes among Muslims can be granted the quota on their socio-economic status as it was legally possible.

'We need to invoke article 341 of the Indian constitution,' he said referring to the act that gives the president of India an authority after taking the advice of the governor of any state or union territory, to demarcate tribes, races or castes or a part of any group as Scheduled Castes, in accordance with the law of the constitution.

'We are not demanding quota for all Muslims. Muslims who enjoy a decent life and form a creamy layer don't need it and should be exempted. It should be reserved for those who need it the most,' he said.

Former MP Syed Shahabuddin of the Delhi-based National Movement for Muslim Reservation (NMMR) said it was an 'epoch-making' initiative.

'The NMMR welcomes it and facilitates the West Bengal government. Though more needs to be done but it is better than not being done anything at all,' Shahabuddin said.
The West Bengal government's announcement came on a day when in Hyderabad, the Andhra Pradesh High Court quashed a state law providing four percent jobs to certain identified backward classes among Muslims.

'That was unexpected. Some fundamentalist parties are opposing it to secure their vote banks. What else does the government need to prove Muslims are under represented and their economic condition is pathetic and much below than the national average,' Nomani said.

Shahabuddin termed the high court ruling as 'unfortunate and deplorable'.

'The judgment quashes the Andhra Pradesh act as being religion-specific and potentially an encouragement to conversion. The reference to conversion shows a streak of Hindutva mentality and is absolutely irrelevant,' he said.

The court, he added, 'has ignored the fact that under Article 15(1) reservation may be religion-specific or caste-specific or race-specific or language-specific if the social group concerned passes the test of backwardness.'

West Bengal announces reservation for Muslims in govt jobs


KOLKATA(INN): 8th February 2010-The Bengal Left Front government has decided that there should be as per the principal recommendations of the Mishra Commission, a 10% reservation of the economically handicapped sections of the Muslims. The reservation excludes the ‘creamy layer.’

The main aspects of the recommendations being initiated are:

· For eligibility, monthly income of the concerned person must be below Rs four lakh 50 thousand
· This is the first instance of reservation for Muslims in the country
· A decision has been kept in consideration for similar reservation for Sikhs and Christians
· Of the 66 communities marked up as OBC’s, 12 are Muslims.
· The OBC Muslims comprise 16 lakh 38 thousand or 8.3% of the total OBC population pool of Bengal.

The ore populous of the Muslim OBC’s include Jola, Fakir/Sain, Hawari, Dhunia, Kasai, Nashya sheikh, Pahadia Muslim, Shershabadia, Rayeen/Kunjra, Hajjam, Chaudhooli, and Patidar. Over and above this list, further, newer applicants are the Khotta Muslims, Sardars, and Beldars.

The cases of four other backward Muslim communities, i.e., Mahaldar, Abdaal, Baasni, and Kaankhalifa are under active consideration, the chief minister said at the Writers’’ Buildings whilst announcing the new category of reservation.
KOLKATA: PTI, 8 February 2010, 03:37pm IST -On a day when the Andhra Pradesh High Court struck down job reservation for Muslims, the West Bengal government on Monday announced 10 per cent quota in employment for the community under the OBC category. The state government declared the quota for the Muslims who were educationally, socially and economically backward in the state. "We have decided to accept the recommendations of the Ranganath Mishra Commission and will take steps to implement it," chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told newsmen at the state secretariat without waiting for the Centre's decision on the report. He said like other states there was reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs in the state. The government, he said, had begun the process of identifying Muslims who were educationally, socially and economically backward. There was 7 per cent reservation for OBCs in the state. "After identification, we will provide reservation to them under the OBC category," the chief minister said. Earlier in the day, a Constitution bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court struck down a state law providing 4 per cent reservation in educational institutions and jobs to 15 groups belonging to the Muslim community. Soon after the court's order, Andhra chief minister K Rosaiah directed the state advocate general D S R Murthy to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging the verdict.

Panel to fast-track Muslim job quota
Swati Sengupta, TNN, 12 February 2010, 05:54am IST
The Left Front government is pulling out all the stops to woo the Muslims. With just around a year left for the 2011 assembly elections, the government on Thursday decided to appoint a panel to grant OBC status to different backward groups in the state. This was done to put its proposal for 10% job reservation for Muslim OBCs on the fast track. Interestingly, the new committee — to be headed by chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti — will be vested with powers to supersede the West Bengal Commission for Backward Classes that was appointed 17 years ago for the same purpose. "The new committee will revise the existing OBC list. This involves including new groups and excluding existing ones, though the immediate purpose is clearly to include more Muslim groups in the OBC category so that they can benefit from the government’s recent decision," a bureaucrat said. The formation of the panel is significant as it will now be executing the order as per the Left Front government’s stand. The commission, on the other hand, is an independent body comprising experts and may not necessarily tow the government’s view on who deserves the OBC status. Officials said the state government is well within its right to form the panel and has legal sanction. Under the West Bengal Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, the state may "undertake a revision of the lists with a view to excluding from such lists those classes who have ceased to be backward classes or for including in such lists new backward classes". While the Act mentions the commission has to be consulted, officials indicated the new panel would have the final say. The committee’s decisions would also be cleared by the state cabinet. According to rule, the revision can be done only 10 years after the formation of the commission. So the state had the power to revise the list since 2003, but chose to do it now, evidently to woo the Muslim voters. In last year’s Lok Sabha polls, the CPM lost a major chunk of the Muslim votebank. After the polls, the party had identified the loss of Muslim votes as a key reason for the debacle. For the past six months, the Commission has been examining the cases of several applications from different groups of Muslims as well as Hindus on OBC status. Recently, the commission granted OBC status to four Muslim groups and more are expected to get the nod. But the government isn’t taking any chances. It wants to act at the earliest so that the benefit of 10% job quota may reach the grassroots before the elections. The largesse for backward Muslims is aimed essentially at the voters in minority-dominated areas of Malda, Murshidabad, and South 24-Parganas. The state’s decision follows the Ranganath Mishra Commission report that recommended 10% reservation for Muslims and 5% for other minorities on the basis of the Sachar Committee report.