Accusations of minority appeasement might be levelled against the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, after an advertisement [PDF], for the post of Secretary, MBB (Health Department) has come to light. As per the advertisement dated 26th February, applications were invited from “Muslim Candidates” for the possible post of “Muhammadan Burial Board”.
To make the corporation’s intention clearer, it proceeded to declare in the “essential qualifications” section that the candidate should be a Muslim. It also sought that it would be desirable if the candidate possesses the knowledge of Urdu.
Here is the advertisement in question:
As seen above, the advertisement clearly states that the candidate should be a Muslim and that Urdu’s knowledge is desirable.
To further drive home the point, the corporation pre-filled the caste column with “Muslim” in the prescribed application format:
As made amply clear from the advertisement, the corporation only sought Muslim candidates for the job, which could have led to questions about a possible minority appeasement policy being undertaken by the organisation.
Since then, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation has issued a corrected advertisement [PDF], after the previous one was ‘cancelled’. The latest advertisement has made the job open for all and doesn’t require the knowledge of Urdu:
As seen, no criteria for being a Muslim is prescribed in the revised advertisement. What is also interesting is that the grade pay involved has also been reduced from 6,600 to 4,800.
The date to submit applications for the initial advertisement was from 26th February to 10th March and in case of the new one is from 14th March to 13th April. Using this information some might hazard a guess that the controversial application wasn’t cancelled immediately, and if it indeed was, the corporation displayed no hurry to promptly put out the rectified one.
This raises the question as to why was the initial advertisement issued and what led to its ‘cancellation’? Was the “only Muslim” criteria initially prompted via the fact that the job pertained to some Muslim burial board? If true, that would indeed have been a fallacy, as the Mamata government has already set a “religion no bar” precedence by appointing a Muslim as the head of the Tarkeshwar Temple’s board.
Such a ‘correction’ of sorts was also recently noticed in Karnataka.
We had reported how the BJP had alleged that Siddaramiah has asked for the opinion of district police heads in the state regarding withdrawal of cases lodged against minorities in communal incidents. The letter signed by AIGP (General) of Karnataka, addressed to 23 district police heads (including communally sensitive Mangaluru) asked for their clear opinion regarding withdrawal of cases lodged against minorities for the past five years.
Following a backlash, the Siddaramaiah government proceeded to ‘correct’ the letter in question by asking the police to review cases against all innocent people involved in various cases (including communal incidents) in the state. The government used the defence of a ‘clerical error’, to address the issue of specific reference to minorities in the earlier letter.