KOLKATA: The RSS on Tuesday criticised Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's announcement of monthly financial assistance of Rs 1,000 and free housing for over 8,000 Brahmin priests in the state, terming it a "mockery" and alleged that the existence of Bengali-speaking Hindus is under threat in present-day Bengal.
Senior state RSS leader Jishnu Basu said if the West Bengal government was so keen to help the Hindus, then it should have helped those families who lost their relatives to "jihadi terror" in different areas.
"The Hindu Brahmins don't accept 'Daan' (donation), the Hindu priests and Brahmins are given 'Dakshina' (honorarium) by the society for the excellent work done by them. It is not the job of the government (to give them financial assistance). Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore has written extensively about it in his works," he said.
"The existence of the Bengali-speaking Hindus is under threat in present-day Bengal. Such kind of announcement hurt Hindu sentiments," Basu, who is Prant-Karyavaha of south Bengal region, said in a statement.
Under frequent attack by opposition parties for "minority appeasement", the chief minister on Monday announced monthly financial assistance of Rs 1,000 and free housing for over 8,000 Hindu priests in the state ahead of the assembly election, which is likely to be held in April-May next year.
"If the state government is keen to help the Hindus, then it should assist those scheduled tribe families in Nadia, who were killed by the Jihadis. The state should help those families who have lost their near and dear ones to Jihadi terror. The Hindus will be happier if the state government help those families. Such mockery of Hindus pains us," he said.
In 2012, the state government faced intense criticism for announcing a similar monthly allowance for imams and muezzins.
It was later routed through the state Wakf Board after Calcutta High Court said it was unconstitutional and against the public interest.