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West Bengal education board’s head mentions religion of topper and not name; criticised

West Bengal: The president of West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE), Mahua Das has been criticised for emphasising the topper’s religious identity at the announcement of Class 12 results, with political figures alleging that the action was in line with the TMC’s appeasement policies.

Das just wanted to highlight the fact that a girl from a minority group ‘overcame social and economic barriers’ to become the topper, said a senior council official.

Mahua Das had stated on Thursday that a Muslim girl from Murshidabad district had achieved 499 out of 500 and was the lone topper in the Class 12 results, without giving her identity. She had also stressed that no merit list was prepared this year.

Amit Malviya, the BJP’s IT cell leader, took exception to her comments and tweeted, ‘In Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal, appeasement politics hit a new low, when a board official reduced academic achievement of a class 12th girl student to her religious identity….she repeatedly mentioned that the girl is a Muslim. One wonders what more these students have to endure.’

Similarly, Adhir Chowdhury, a Congress member in the Lok Sabha, claimed it was ‘jarring’ to the ears when the council announced a Muslim girl came first during the news conference. ‘We will be happier if there is no attempt to flag the religious identity of a girl student. It is praiseworthy that a girl student secured the first rank, leaving behind boys,’ he remarked.

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Sourabh Prasad, president of the Congress students’ wing in the state, said it is a ‘matter of regret’ that ‘honourable council president kept harping on the religious identity of the topper but refrained from mentioning her name,’ and Das should be relieved of her responsibilities if she does not apologise for her remark.

The WBCHSE president could not be reached for comment despite numerous attempts.


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