Kolkata. West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE) chairperson Mahua Das has been embroiled in a controversy for disclosing the religious identity of the topper during the declaration of class 12th results. Political leaders claimed that this was done keeping in mind the TMC’s policy of appeasement. However, a senior council official said that Das just wanted to underline the fact that a girl from the minority community has topped the “struggle with social and economic constraints”.
Das, without naming the girl, had said on Thursday that a Muslim girl from Murshidabad district had secured 499 marks out of 500 and was the topper in class 12 results. He said that this year the merit list has not been prepared. BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya took a jibe at her statement, tweeting, “In Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal, politics of appeasement has reached a new low when a board official denies academic achievement of a class 12th student.” reduced her from her religious identity…they repeatedly told that the girl was a Muslim.’
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Similarly, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that when the council said during its press conference that a Muslim girl had been the topper, he did not feel it right. “We would have been happy if no attempt had been made to reveal the religious identity of a girl student. It is commendable that a girl student has outperformed the boys and secured the first position.
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State unit president of Congress’ student wing Saurabh Prasad said Das should be absolved of his responsibilities for not apologizing for his remarks. He said that “sadly” “the honorable council president continued to insist on the religious identity of the topper, but did not name him.” “We demand that he either publicly apologize for his remarks or be absolved of his responsibilities,” Prasad said.
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Eminent academics also criticized Das for ‘associating religion with merit’. Amal Mukhopadhyay, former principal of the then Presidency College, said, “Das commented passionately on the girl’s success, but inadvertently made a big mistake by combining religion with merit.” When contacted, Mohammad Yahia, president of the West Bengal Imam Association, said that the council chief had “humiliated the student and belittled her achievements”.
Yahia said, ‘We demand that he should be immediately removed from the post for his petty mentality. Otherwise, we have to assume that the chief minister supports such remarks, as the council president has said, taking inspiration from Mamata Banerjee. Several attempts were made to contact the council chief to get his response, but he could not be reached.
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