By Anwesha Bhaumik
Nisith Pramanik, India’s new junior Home Minister, is finding himself in multiple controversies over his actual education, place of birth and many criminal cases still hanging against him.
‘Pujar Mala’, a Facebook page located in Bangladesh, sparked a controversy by posting this week that Pramanik was born in the Harinathpur of Gaibandha located in the South Asian country.
Pramanik’s official entries says he was born on January 17, 1986, at Dinhata in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district.
Pramanik has not responded to the ‘Pujar Mala’ post so far.
Former Trinamool MLA Partha Pratim Roy said Pramanik should come clean about whether he was born in India or Bangladesh.
If the statement is false, he should take legal action against the Facebook page, Roy said.
“As a concerned citizen, I claim that Pramanik should clarify the allegations whether he is the son of Cooch Behar or of Gaibandha in Bangladesh. Or take legal action against this page and bring the truth out. However, I have heard that another Bangladeshi portal has claimed the same.”
At 35, ramanik is the youngest minister in the new Narendra Modi cabinet.
He is also the first Central minister from the Cooch Behar district that borders Bangladesh and Bhutan.
Controversy has also erupted over Pramanik’s educational qualification after he was named the new Minister of State for Home following the July 7 cabinet reshuffle.
He had stated ‘Madhyamik Pariksha’ or secondary exam as his highest educational qualification in both affidavits.
The one for the Assembly polls was submitted on March 18 2021, and one for the Lok Sabha elections was submitted on March 25, 2019.
However, Pramanik’s profile on the Lok Sabha website says his educational qualification is “Bachelors of Computer Applications (B.C.A.) Educated at Balakura Junior Basic School”.
“In March, his highest educational qualification was that he had appeared in the higher secondary exam, he did not clarify in his affidavit if he passed the exam. And now, in July, he has a Bachelor’s degree?” asked former TMC MLA Udayan Guha.
Guha alleged that the school that Pramanik’s Lok Sabha profile refers to is a non-descript junior school where no such course as BCA has ever been offered.
“This is a junior basic school, so how can it offer a Bachelor’s degree ?”
Pramanik’s profile, however, does not mention that the school gave him the degree. It says that the course was conducted at the school. However, the profile also does not mention which institution offered the degree, even if the school premises was used as a venue.
Pramanik was a TMC youth wing leader in Cooch Behar whom the party expelled in 2018, after which he joined the BJP under the active stewardship of Mukul Roy.
Roy, a veteran TMC leader, had joined the BJP in 2017 but returned to his old party after the 2021 state Assembly polls.
Pramanik has mentioned of 11 criminal cases against him in his 2019 affidavit and 13 cases in a 2021 affidavit, including charges of murder, dacoity, theft, and possession of explosives.
No senior leader of the West Bengal BJP has commented on the controversy regarding his educational qualification, saying Pramanik was the best person to answer it.
Pramanik has not taken calls from media, including IANS.
West Bengal state party president Dilip Ghosh has also been involved in a similar controversy over his actual educational qualifications.
In an RTI response furnished by former BJP state committee leader Ashok Sarkar in 2017, it was claimed that Ghosh “did not pass” a diploma in Engineering and Technology from Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar Polytechnic in Jhargram.
Sarkar maintained that his allegation that Ghosh had been lying about his educational credentials in his affidavit furnished for the state Assembly elections, has proved to be true.
Veteran BJP leader and former Governor Tathagata Roy has alluded to Dilip Ghosh as “class V111 pass fitter mistri” when he attacked him and three central leaders, holding them responsible for BJP’s poll defeat.
“As per our office record, Sri Dilip Ghosh, son of Late Bhulanath Ghosh id not pass the Diploma in Engineering/Technology from this institute, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Polytechnic by name, since 1975 to 1990,” said the RTI reply.
The RTI application filed by Sarkar says Ghosh “claimed of passing diploma from Jhargram Polytechnic college which was challenged. Subsequently he confirmed that he has passed the diploma from Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar Polytechnic”.
Ghosh has not replied to the charges, neither has he clarified where he got the diploma from.
In 2015, a controversy had erupted over Modi’s educational qualifications after various RTI applications seeking details about his degrees were refused by the universities and the Prime minister’s Office.
Many like Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed Modi may have provided wrong information in his election affidavits, which said he finished his undergraduate degree through a distance learning programme from Delhi University in 1978 and his M.A. from Gujarat University in 1983.