Earlier this week, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) has found gross irregularities in West Bengal’s State OBC List. In a country where overpopulation is, perhaps, one of the most serious problems, the way OBC certificates have been granted to illegal immigrants like the Rohingyas and Bangladeshis, puts a serious question mark on the intent of the state government led by Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee. NCBC also found that out of the 179 castes, which have been granted OBC status in West Bengal, 118 belong to the Muslim community, exposing State discrimination.
NCBC Chief Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said on June 8 that the matter was noticed during the field surveys conducted between February and May this year. He said, “We have received several complaints stating that many from the Muslim community included in the list are immigrants from Bangladesh. We are investigating the matter, as this has been done by depriving actual beneficiaries. We have sought a detailed response from the state government.”
The NCBC team that visited West Bengal in February questioned the fact that despite a higher population of Hindus in the State, how could there be more Muslim OBC castes than Hindu OBC castes. When the State authorities did not give any “satisfactory replies”, the NCBC concluded that there was “clearly something wrong” with the State OBC list.
While Ahir emphasizes that the Commission wasn’t “against Muslims getting the benefit of reservation, … such irregularity can’t be accepted.” He explained that the State OBC list was divided into two categories – A (Most Backward Class) and B (Backward Class). The A category received more benefits than the B category. The NCBC Chief further stated that data showed 73 out of 81 communities under A Category as Muslims and only 8 as Hindus. In the B Category, more than half were Muslim communities.
Ahir declared, “It is clear that the State has arbitrarily given non-deserving communities OBC status.” The State government has been directed to fix the discrepancies at the earliest.