‘Days of Restlessness’ Ahead

published on May 1, 2008

State to implement Sachar-Paloli report

Pioneer News Service | Thiruvananthapuram

Disregarding the serious concerns and criticisms raised by leading political parties and community organizations in the State, the LDF Government in Kerala on Wednesday decided to implement the report of the Paloli Muhammad Kutty Committee that recommended the implementation of the controversial Rajinder Sachar Committee report on minorities. Several organisations had complained that the CPI(M) effort to implement the report was part of its efforts to win the Muslim vote-bank even by jeopardizing the religious harmony in the State.

A meeting of the State Cabinet approved the report of the Paloli committee headed by the Local Administration Minister, appointed by the Government to study the possibilities of implementation of the Sachar recommendations in the particular context of Kerala, and decided to implement it as such.

BJP State general secretary MT Ramesh said that the implementation of the report would present Kerala with ‘days of restlessness’.

The Paloli panel had submitted its findings to Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan on February 21, and this had invited contrasting opinions from political parties, community outfits and sociologists.

The report, prepared after receiving more than 5,000 suggestions from different Muslim organisations, had put forward recommendations for the welfare of Muslims in three different categories, viz education, woman empowerment and employment.

For the improvement of the community in the educational sector, the report suggested 15 steps including, starting new colleges and schools and implementation of a reservation system for Muslims in aided educational institutions.

The report also recommended creation of a Muslim Development Corporation, establishment of an Arabic university and more Government schools in Muslim majority areas, etc. Though the Chief Minister had promised detailed discussions before implementing the report, no such talks had ever taken place, critics protested.

The Paloli report has recommended speedy implementation of the Sachar suggestions as in the case of benefits under the Scheduled Castes-Scheduled Tribes department, special educational scholarships for minority students, etc.

Apart from the creation of a minority welfare department, the Paloli committee has also recommended constitution of minority cells in the district level. It has also recommended starting more educational institutions in the Government or aided sector in places with higher density of Muslim population. If the institutions are being started in the aided sector, the management should be with corporate bodies or trusts, it has said. Establishment of colleges under Muslim management bodies has also been recommended in districts like Kasaragod, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta where Muslims were educationally backward.

The Paloli report has also said that all Muslim children below poverty line should be given all educational concessions presently enjoyed by those in the scheduled tribes. Special scholarships should also be started for these children, the report says. Scholarships up to Rs 2,000 should be given on the basis of an income ceiling, it says.

The Paloli report has also asked for a hike in the grant for children living in orphanages (Yateem Khanas) from the present Rs 175 to Rs 250 per month and for increasing this by Rs 25 every year.

The committee headed by Paloli had as its members MPs KE Ismail and TK Hmazah, MLAs AA Aziz and KT Jaleel, Muslim Education Society president Dr Fazal Gafoor, journalist O Abdurahman, Kadakkal Abdul Aziz Moulavi, AC Muhammad Kunhi, Hussain Randathani and PK Wilson.

Responding to the decision of the State Cabinet, BJP State general secretary Ramesh said in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday that the implementation of the Paloli report would divide Kerala society on religious lines.

The Paloli report issue had brought MES and Nair Service Society to the brink of a confrontation after NSS general secretary PK Narayana Panicker saying that implementation of the report could land the State in total chaos. Describing the report as a ‘crude’ document, he had said that his outfit would take a strong position against the implementation of the report.

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