Kolkata’s Tipu Sultan Mosque’s controversial Shahi Imam Maulana Noor-ur Rehman Barkati was ousted from his 28-year-old position on Wednesday. However, the cleric who has been sacked for making incendiary remarks against the country, and refusing to remove the red beacon from his car (despite a Central government ban), has flouted the order. The cleric even claimed to have West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s support. A report by India Today, quoted the Imam as saying:
I will talk to Mamata Banerjee.
The Tipu Sultan Mosque’s trustee board had recently filed a police complaint against Barkati for his “jihad” remark and his defiance of the red beacon ban.
We have lodged a police complaint against the serving Imam Maulana Noor-ur Rehman Barkati in Bowbazar police station for forcefully snatching away the keys of the mosque’s official room.Anwar Ali Shah, head of the mosque’s trustee board to India Today
Barkati had earlier cited a unique reason for continuing to use a red beacon atop his vehicle. According to him, he had been granted permission by the erstwhile ‘British Government’ for the same.
No one has the guts to remove my red beacon. It’s been with us for hundreds of years. It is the RSS which is illegal, Modi is illegal not the red light on my car. Don’t try disturbing Muslims in Bengal.Maulana Nurur Rehman Imam Barkati to India Today
Barkati has also warned Muslims against joining the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), threatening them with ostracisation.
This is not the first time that the cleric is courting controversy. Earlier this year, Barkati’s fatwa against Prime Minister Narendra Modi put him in the BJP’s crosshairs.
(With inputs from India Today and IANS)