Tamil Nadu CM announces three welfare schemes for Muslims

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday made three announcements in the assembly for the welfare of Muslims in the state.

He said the ulema (Muslims scholars) monthly pension scheme would be enhanced to Rs 3,000 from Rs 1,500.

Poor pesh imams, mothinars, Arabic teachers and mujawars who retired from service at Tamil Nadu Waqf Board institutions are paid a pension under the scheme. Those who attained 60 years of age and completed 20 years of service are eligible to receive pension. It was implemented in the state in 1981.

There are 2,814 institutions registered with the state Waqf Board. The CM also announced that ulemas of these institutions would either get a cash support of Rs 25,000 to purchase a two-wheeler or 50% of the vehicle cost, whichever is less, as subsidy.

The chief minister said the government would construct a Haj Illam (Haj house) on a land identified by the Tamil Nadu Waqf Board at a cost of Rs 15 crore to facilitate the pilgrims to get accommodation and receive necessary support for luggage and documentation work. Every year, 4,000 people go for the annual Haj pilgrimage via Chennai airport. The number was 4,300 pilgrims last year.

When Palaniswami made these announcements, hundreds of Muslims were staging a protest at Chepauk, a few kilometres away from the assembly, demanding that the state government move a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The protesters had planned to lay siege to Fort St George, the seat of power. However, the police prevented the attempt by blocking the entry points.

Thanking the chief minister for the gesture, labour minister Nilofer Kafeel said, “Amma’s government has always been protecting the minorities. Very proud to say that our chief minister runs the government the way our Puratchi Thalaivi (Jayalalithaa), who protected the minorities, ran it,” she said, amid loud thumping of desks.