Dining hall diktat: Mamata Banerjee rejects discrimination charge, blames errant officials for issuing old circular

By: |
Updated: June 28, 2019 3:44:37 PM

Controversy erupted when a circular released by the Cooch Behar District Magistrate's office (minority section) asked the District Inspector of Schools to send a report of the names of government and government-aided schools having more than 70 percent students.

The TMC supremo also stated that the circular was issued to figure out the number of minority students in the schools. (PTI File photo)The TMC supremo also stated that the circular was issued to figure out the number of minority students in the schools. (PTI File photo)

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Friday dismissed reports of the government issuing directives on the construction of dining hall in schools which have over 70% Muslims as its students. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the circular was not meant for discriminating between students and called it a ‘Government of India’ guideline, reports news agency ANI. She further said that the idea is to pool funds from other departments so that the scheme can be implemented effectively. The TMC supremo also stated that the circular was issued to figure out the number of minority students in the schools.

Controversy erupted when a circular released by the Cooch Behar District Magistrate’s office (minority section) asked the District Inspector of Schools to send a report of the names of government and government-aided schools having more than 70 percent students.

Speaking to CNN News18, Banerjee said that she had no knowledge about the development and blamed errant officers for issuing an old circular without the sanction of the state government. She further said that a probe will be conducted into the issue. The CM also added that the government will issue a clarification soon.

According to the circular issued on June 25, 2019, it was stated, “In reference to the no: 1173-MD/15011/10/2017: dt: 14/06/09 received from the Special Secretary, Ma & ME Department, Government of West Bengal, you are requested to send the names of the Government/ Government aided schools having minority students more than 70 percent.” The circular also asked the authorities to submit the information by June 28, 2019.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has slammed the TMC government’s directive and alleged a conspiracy behind the move. In a tweet, West Bengal BJP president and MP Dilip Ghosh said, “The West Bengal Government has issued a circular whereby it has directed the school authorities where 70 percent or more students are from the Muslim community to reserve a dining hall with seating arrangements for them.”

Ghosh further said, “Why this discrimination between the students on the basis of religion? Is there some other malafide motive behind this segregation? Another conspiracy?”

The controversy comes as another flashpoint between the two parties that has seen several clashes between the workers of both parties. The BJP and the TMC are on a warpath in the state ever since the declaration of the Lok Sabha election results. In the recently held Lok Sabha election, the Bharatiya Janta Party had won 18 seats (16 more from the last time) out of 42 parliamentary constituencies while ruling Trinamool Congress bagged 22 seats (12 less than the 2014 general election). BJP’s vote share was 40.25 percent while TMC’s vote share was 43.28 percent.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.