‘Muslim outfits distracting from real disadvantages’

Noted economist and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen on Sunday said Muslim outfits are not trying to address the issues plaguing the community and instead diverting from them by organising protests against authors like Salman Rushdie.

"There are a lot of people, who are enormously disadvantaged, have reasons to complain about other things. Here, I'm not only talking about the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes but the fact that even in Bengal, if you look at Muslim groups in terms of the even-handedness of progress, they have not been as privileged. To subvert that issue into a completely different kind, and getting offended about something else is distracting the attention from the real disadvantages they face," Sen said at Kolkata Literary Meet on Sunday.

Sen said by talking about offence, they are distracting from the real issues.

His comments come in the wake of Rushdie's visit to Kolkata being cancelled at the last minute after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee allegedly heeded to Muslim clerics' demand of not allowing the Booker Prize winning author to land in the city.

Sen also criticised the Marxists for not raising the issues like open defecation and instead focussing on gas price hike.

"When I was in Presidency College, I was a staunch supporter of the SFI (CPM's students' wing). But I am upset with various issues which Left parties now raise. I am particularly upset, when Left parties go after the issues of cooking gas (price hike) and other issues. They should also focus on eradicating the menace of open defecation, open toilets from our country," he added.

He said that withdrawal of support from the UPA-I government by the Left parties over the Indo-US nuclear deal was a "tactical mistake, but a minor thing".

Earlier, on several occasions Sen had raised the issues of open defecation and child malnutrition in the country, taking note that Bangladesh had surged ahead of India in curbing open defecation by a large extent.

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