Will not let you starve, Mamata tells Muslim clerics

Kolkata, Sep 6 : Observing that her government respected the court order declaring as unconstitutional the monthly honorarium paid to Imams and muezzins, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday assured the clerics of ensuring their livelihood.

"Law will take its own course and we respect the court's order. But at the same time I want to assure that we will democratically ensure livelihood of Imams and muezzins," Banerjee said here at an event.

Imams are preachers and muezzins those who call the faithfuls to prayer at mosques.

"I know the Imams and muezzins are worried following the court order, but I want to assure you there is nothing to worry. We will ensure that you do not starve," she added.

A Calcutta High Court division bench of Justice Pranab Kumar Chattopadhyay and Justice Murari Prasad Shrivastava Monday said the Banerjee government's payment of monthly honorariums to the Muslim clerics violated the principles of equality enshrined in the constitution.

Banerjee in April last year announced the monthly payment of Rs.2,500 to Imams and Rs.1,500 to muezzins. Following the announcement, the Bharatiya Janata Party filed a public interest litigation challenging its legality.

Muslim religious organisations are mulling to approach the apex court against the high court verdict.

--IANS (Posted on 06-09-2013)

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