Numbers Bust BJP-Created Myth of ‘Muslim Appeasement’ in West Bengal

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressing a gathering of Muslims in Kolkata, in this April 3, 2012 file photo. EPA

Central govt survey reveals Muslims fare at the lowest in most indicators of development in the poll-bound state

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – Every election campaign sees Bharatiya Janata Party deploying the narrative of “appeasement of Muslim minority” to discredit parties opposed to its ideology and consolidate the Hindu vote. But numbers in West Bengal where the assembly polls are underway belie the claims of both sides.

Muslims constitute 27% of the population but fare at the lowest in most indicators of development, according to a video report by The Wire.

“If you look at these numbers you will come to know who has been appeased and who is oppressed,” Arfa-Khanum Sherwani says in the report.

According to the 2018-19 Periodic Labour Force Survey of the Central government, 13% Muslims of the state have regular salary which is 9% less than the national average of the community.

34% of the Muslim work force in West Bengal is into casual labour, lacking financial and social security, again way more than the national average of 26%.

The average monthly income of an employed Muslim in West Bengal is Rs 6,197. The national monthly income of Muslims is Rs 10, 192.

Though improved compared to 2012-13 survey, Muslims constitute only 7.8% of the college teaching workforce in West Bengal, said the survey. Similarly, only 7% of the teachers in university come from Muslim community. Majority of them teach at Aliah University Kolkatta run by the state’s Minority Ministry.

These numbers are a glimpse of the marginalization of Muslims in West Bengal which has successively been ruled by secular parties including the Left that makes tall claims of practicing politics for the upliftment of the downtrodden. Numbers have improved in the past ten years under Trinamool but they are marginally greater and there is much more to be done towards betterment of the minority community.

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