Minority body chief leaves Bihar in a huffMay 16th, 2008 - 2:26 pm ICT by admin
Patna, May 16 (IANS) Unhappy over being ignored despite being a state guest, the National Commission of Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) chairman M.S.A. Siddiqui has cut short his official visit to Bihar and returned to New Delhi in a huff. Siddiqui returned to New Delhi barely two-and-a-half hours after he landed here Thursday on a two-day visit, leaving officials red-faced.
“He was unhappy over the treatment meted out to him by the state government and ended his official visit without holding any meeting,” an official of the state guest house said Friday.
Siddiqui told some Muslim leaders who went to meet him that he was stunned by the “hospitality” accorded to him by the government.
“What angered him was that there was no official to receive him at the airport, nor was there was any senior official at the guest house to apprise him of the engagements as per protocol. He felt humiliated,” Azmi Bari, a Congress leader, told IANS.
Bari was one of half a dozen Muslim leaders, cutting across party lines, who requested Siddiqui to continue his visit.
Siddiqui was given the status of a state guest on paper, but in reality he was treated in violation of protocol, said Bari.
Former minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad Khan said Siddiqui was forced to put off his official visit. “The state government was solely responsible for this blunder and have to answer (for) it,” said Khan.
He said the Siddiqui episode has exposed Nitish Kumar, who he claimed hardly misses a chance to project himself as minority friendly and tries hard to woo Muslims.
“He was not given proper reception and (was) ignored,” added Khan.
Siddiqui reportedly refused to have his lunch at the guest house and asked a staff member to buy a bottle of mineral water from outside.
He was scheduled to hold meetings with representatives of minority educational institutions. He was expected to meet top officials including chief secretary and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to discuss the educational status of minorities in the state.
According to the 1991 census, the Muslim population in Bihar was over 10 million, 15.7 percent of the state’s population.
Despite several schemes for minorities, only 36 percent of the Muslims in Bihar are literate. There are half a dozen minority colleges and dozens of schools. There are over 4,000 madrasas in the state.