BJP questions West Bengal circular on dining halls in Muslim-majority schools

first_img The Chief Minister on Friday clarified that the circular was not meant to divide students in any way. “The idea is to pool in funds from different departments so that the scheme ( mid-day meal) can be effectively implemented. It was not supposed to divide students in any way,” Ms. Banerjee said. She said that dining halls constructed with funds from the Minority Department will serve all students, irrespective of their religion or community.“It’s a technical matter, nothing more,” she said, adding that the plan for constructing dining halls was only for schools that did not have the facility and where students have to eat outside.After the Chief Minister’s response, the Department of Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education issued a press release issuing further clarification on the matter.“For schools with substantial SC/ST students, such critical gap funding is provided by the Backward Classes Welfare Department. However, the assets/facilities created from such pooled funds are open to all, i.e. used by all students/ beneficiaries irrespective of which community they belong to,” the press statement said.The statement also added that for implementing the mid-day meal scheme and to create the related infrastructure, the State Government “pools funds from the budgets of various education-related departments while also ensuring that the facilities so created are used by all students, without any discrimination whatsoever”. A circular issued by West Bengal’s Minority Affairs department on the construction of dining halls in state-run schools that have more than 70% Muslim students has triggered a political controversy in the State, with the Bharatiya Janata Party calling it “discrimination”.Trinamool Congress chairperson and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was quick to defend the circular, saying that it was not aimed at “dividing students in any way” but only to pool in funds from different departments to create infrastructure for running mid-day meal programme in schools.Controversy over the circular erupted with State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, tweeted the order and questioned the same. “Why this discrimination between the students on the basis of religion? Is there some other mala fide motive behind this segregation? Another conspiracy,” Mr. Ghosh said. The circular, dated June 25, called for names of schools which had more than 70% minority students for construction of dining halls for mid-day meals.1.1 The West Bengal Government has issued a circular whereby it has directed the school authorities where 70 % or more students are from the Muslim community to reserve a dining hall with seating arrangements for them. pic.twitter.com/cwYQWngDtW— Dilip Ghosh (@DilipGhoshBJP) June 27, 2019last_img

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