Sharing a merit list of 50 candidates for West Bengal Police Recruitment Board, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of Parliament (MP) Shiv Pratap Shukla accused the state government of “appeasement politics” and said that there were no “Hindus in the list”.
While the list shared by Shukla has not been tampered with or edited, the claim is misleading as this is just one part of the OBC category list shared by Shukla. There are other lists (even for the OBC category) which enlists names of candidates belonging to other communities.
The state of West Bengal recognises two divisions under the OBC Category – OBC (A) and OBC (B). As on 21 June 2021, the West Bengal Commission for Backward Classes’ website shows majority of the candidates in category A are from the Muslim community, while OBC (B) has a higher proportion people from the Hindu community.
BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh Shiv Pratap Shukla retweeted the list on Twitter and wrote, “I wonder if this is India or in Pakistan, No One from Hindu Community? The state of West Bengal is the New Kashmir and it is an attempt to disturb the demographics of the state. This is height of appeasement and political incompetence.”
The claim was also shared by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha President Vaibhav Pawar here.
Several other social media users on Facebook and Twitter also made similar claims, asking whether Hindus did not qualify and wondering if this was 'appeasement'. The posts can be found here, here, here and here.
WHAT WE FOUND
On checking the website of West Bengal Police, we found the officially declared lists which mentioned that the recruitment was for the post of sub inspector of police (armed and unarmed branch).
There, we found that the police recruitment board had posted results for different social categories and each of them were further categorised into candidates provisionally selected for Armed (AB) and Unarmed branches (UB).
We noticed that the OBC category, further had two categories – A and B. The list which is being shared online is the OBC-A (UB) list.
The state of West Bengal recognises two divisions under the OBC Category – OBC (A) and OBC (B). Category ‘A’ is called ‘More Backward’ and Category ‘B’ is called ‘Backward’.
Under the OBC (B) list – armed and unarmed – we found a majority of Hindus. The Scheduled Castes and Tribes lists also did not show a high number of candidates from any particular minority religion.
'APPEASEMENT' IN POLICE RECRUITMENT?
To understand the reason behind a majority of the candidates on the OBC (A) merit list belonging to the Muslim community, we checked the state government’s official websites.
On the West Bengal Commission for Backward Classes’ website, we found a page that denotes castes added to the ‘Other Backward Classes’ category since 1994, along with the notification details of every group of additions.
Additionally, it allows visitors to view the list of OBC in the state, according to their category – OBC (A) and OBC (B).
Here, the list denotes Muslim castes with an asterisk. It is clearly seen that a majority of the castes – 72 out of 80 – under OBC (A) are from the Muslim community. In comparison, OBC (B) has 40 Muslim castes out of 91.
The fact is that most selected candidates under OBC (A) category don’t appear to be a case of minority or vote-bank appeasement. Nearly 90 percent of the castes under that specific category belong to the Muslim community, making their dominance on the merit list justifiable.
Clearly, claims of appeasement politics and turning West Bengal into ‘New Kashmir’ due to preferential treatment of specific communities is misleading.
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