Won't allow Imam Barkati to perform namaz, say protesters in Kolkata

Elias Hubbard
May 20, 2017

Kolkata: After being axed from Tipu Sultan Masjid, Noor-ur Rahman Barkati on Wednesday castigated the trustees of the mosque and warned of serious consequences if the order is not revoked. "He is no longer the Imam of the mosque" said Arif Ahmed, Chairman of the Trust.

The termination comes into effect from Wednesday. Barkati has been given seven days to vacate the office.

"Subsequent to the show cause notice, you have physically abused the co-trustee and made comments that can incite the people to violence", the letter said. As per the IE report, Barkati even alleged RSS and the BJP were causing problems in West Bengal just ahead of the Shab-e-Barat.

However, the controversial cleric refused to acknowledge trustee board's order and declines to step down from the post. The maverick cleric Barkati, who had been close to chief minister Mamata Banerjee but of late seemed to have fallen from grace for his anti-national statements and dogged refusal to remove red beacon from his vehicle, had been holding the post since December, 1988.

Shahi Imam is designated to administer namaz to royal families. He had recently said that he would not take out the red beacon from the vehicle as he was granted permission by the British.

Several demonstrations were held by Muslims on Tuesday against Barkati's comments.

Ahmed also described as "technically incorrect" Barkati's claims of being a "Shahi Imam".

Last week, the head of the Trustee Board, Shahezada Anwar Ali Shah had called Barkati "a blot" on the Muslim community. The Imam of Jama Masjid in Delhi was appointed by the Mughal dynasty.

Asked about Barkati's successor, Ahmed said nothing has been decided about that.

The decision was taken after a series of complaints were about his comments. Choosing an Imam of such a prestigious mosque is a time consuming process.

Referring to the police complaint lodged against Barkati two days ago for allegedly snatching away the keys of the mosque office, Ahmed hoped the law would take its due course.

On January 7, Barkati had issued a fatwa against the PM, offering a reward of Rs 25 lakh to anyone who would "cut off his beard, shave his head and smear him with black ink".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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