After HC termed allowances unconstitutional, Mamata offers 'protection' to imams

JWest Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee 'assured' on Friday that the constitutional rights of imams and minorities in general will be upheld by her government (IE)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that her government would extend all necessary 'protection' to the imams and muezzins in the state as per law.

On September 2, the Calcutta High Court ruled that allowances for the imams and muezzins announced by the state government were unconstitutional.

Related: Calcutta High Court rules state govt's 'allowance' to imams unconstitutional

The chief minister, however, declined to make any comment on the Calcutta High Court order, saying, "Law will take its own course."

"We believe in a democratic process and everything will be done as per law for the protection of minorities as well as imams and muezzins for their development, Banerjee said giving away scholarships and loans to the minorities at a function organised by the West Bengal Minorities' Development and Financial Corporation.

"Don't be worried. Nothing is there to be upset. We are with you always. We have in our hand the Wakf Board, Minorities Commission and Madrasa Service Commission which will help us fulfil the demands and aspirations of the imams and muezzins and other minorities," she said amidst cheers from the audience.

A Calcutta High Court division bench of Justice P K Chattopadhyay and Justice M P Shrivastava passing an order on a writ petition filed against the government's announcement of allowances for the imams and muezzins ruled them unconstitutional and against public interest.

State's urban development minister Firhad Hakim had earlier assured the imams and muezzins that as long as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her government was there, interest of the poor minorities would remain protected.

"Nothing to be worried for the poor minorities including the Imams and Muezzins. Chief Minister is taking all measures for their economic and social uplift," Hakim had said.

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