The West Bengal unit of the Congress’ in Birbhum district unit on Saturday organised a rally comprising Hindu priests demanding honorarium for them as the state doles out to Muslim clerics. The move comes at the time when the state-led TMC has scheduled a Brahmin Sammelan on January 8 in the district.
The rally was led by Congress MLA Milton Rashid who had questioned the state government asking them why Hindu priests were not getting paid an honorarium, if Muslim clerics were. He had said that there were many Hindu priests who carry out pujas but are unable to get a square meal for their family. He demanded that they should also be given a monthly allowance and the honorarium for Muslim Imams and moazzins should also be raised.
In the rally, Rashid said that in other states such as Tamil Nadu, Muslim clerics get paid a lot more than what they received in Bengal. “I had put forward this demand which had been sent to the finance department. Since the number of Brahmin priests are the most at Tarapith in this district, that is why we had started the movement from here,” he said.
Interestingly, in what is being touted as a damage control for the Mamata Banerjee-led government, a Brahmin Sammelan would be conducted on Monday. Birbhum TMC district president Anubrata Mondal had told DNA that he was organising it according to the instruction of party senior leadership. In the meeting about 15,000 Brahmins would converge from across the district and would perform pujas and each of them would be given a Gita, a religious shawl and a photograph of Ramkrishna Paramhansa and Saradha Ma. It was found out that about 2,000 calves would also be brought from the state animal husbandry department and would be distributed among some of the Brahmin priests.
Mondal, however, had denied any political connotation with the event and maintained that the event had been carried out earlier as well, at the block level and this year he had been instructed to organise it at a district level.