In a big setback for Syed Noor-ur-Rehman Barkati, who was recently in news for refusing to remove red beacon on his car, it is reported that the mosque’s board of trustees has decided to sack him as the Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque in Kolkata. Speaking to Indian Express, Shahzada Anwar Ali Shah, who is the head of mosque board, said that the board is in the final stage of discussing the matter with their lawyers. “Probably, the announcement of his termination will be made at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon,” Shah added.
“Through his anti-national comments, he has done disservice to the nation and the community… in reality has encouraged fundamentalist forces like RSS. He has betrayed our community… Hence, we feel that he has no right to continue as the Imam of the mosque,” Shah said.
Shah further stated that Barkati has also been accused of misusing the mosque premises for holding press conferences and organising personal events such as marriages. Barkati had issued fatwas against various prominent leaders of the country including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP state president Dilip Ghosh. He had also made various controversial statements against Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). As per the Indian Express report, Barkati is one of the closest aides of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and has been seen sharing stage in various rallies conducted by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) party. However, of late, he seemed to have lost Mamata’s backing following his controversial comments and actions, added the report.
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Recently when the Central government banned the use of red beacons in vehicles, Barkati had said, “I am a religious leader and I have been using the red beacon for the past several decades. I don’t follow the orders of the Centre. Who are they to order me? In Bengal, only the orders of the state government are effective. I will use red beacon. In Bengal, no one has removed red beacon.”
He had also claimed that he would not remove the beacon from his vehicle even if PM Modi asks him to do so. Later his statements against the Centre’s directive were criticised by many Muslim leaders and clerics in the state.