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Banerjee announces sops for Muslims, honorarium for Imams

West Bengal,Politics,Religion, Tue, 03 Apr 2012 IANS

Kolkata, April 3 (IANS) Raising the pitch for next year's panchayat elections in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday announced pro-minority sops including a monthly honorarium for Imams.


"The government wants to give a monthly honorarium of Rs. 2,500 to Imams of the state which will be paid through the state Wakf Board.


"For the purpose a special task force comprising government officials and Imams from the city and districts will be constituted which will make the necessary recommendations for the implementation of the scheme," Banerjee said here during a meet with the religious leaders.


Banerjee also said "homeless, landless Imams" will now be given the benefits under her pet project "Nijo Bhumi Nijo Griha (Own Land, Own House)".


"There are more than 30,000 Imams in Bengal and a large percentage of them do not have a house or land. If they want and if their religious laws permit, then they can avail the benefits under the Nijo Bhumi Nijo Griha' scheme and get 3 cottahs of land to build house. The government will also provide for the construction expenditure," she added.


She reiterated her government stand of providing reservation to the Muslims.


Referring to the 10 percent quota that the previous Left Front government had announced for Other Backward Classes in the community, she said: "The survey has been ordered as the reservation will have to be made legal. What the previous government did in this matter has no legal basis."


Stating that government was giving affiliation to 10,000 madrasas in the state, she said: "Although the state government cannot provide financial grants to these madrasas, affiliating them would enable them to get grants under various central schemes."


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