Gone, red beacon as well as Shahi Imam post - Tipu Sultan Mosque authorities sack Maulana Noor-ur Rehman Barkati
Maulana Noor-ur Rehman Barkati had recently threatened 'jihad' and refused to take off red beacon from his vehicle.
Kolkata: Days after openly defying the Centre's order and stating that he would keep using the red beacon on his vehicle, the Tipu Sultan Mosque trustee board sacked Shahi Imam Maulana Noor-ur Rehman Barkati for "objectionable and inflammatory remarks against the country".
Notably, Barkati had recently threatened 'jihad' and refused to take off the beacon from his vehicle.
A police complaint was lodged against Barkati by the Board on Monday in Bowbazar police station for forcefully snatching away the keys of the mosque's official room.
Head of the Board, Anwar Ali Shah, told news agency IANS over phone that the office room was opened in the mosque under the direct order of the High Court and is being used to store the official documents.
"The documents of complaints against Imam Barkati is stored in the room. It seems he has taken away the keys to destroy those documents so that it does not reach the trustee board for validation," he had alleged.
Barkati, considered close to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, is known for his repeated controversial and provocative comments.
Only last week he had warned of a 'jihad' if India was declared a Hindu Rashtra, and also refused to take off the red beacon from his car saying the privilege was granted to the Shahi Imam by the British government.
Following the Centre's ban on the use of red beacon in non-emergency vehicles, Barkati had on May 11 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."
A day later, he had claimed that he would not remove the red beacon "even if Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked him to".
His comments were criticised by most Muslim leaders and clerics in the state.
Siddiqullah Chowdhury, state Library Minister and a cleric, had even demonstrated against Barkati on May 13 near the mosque.
A number of police complaints were also lodged against the Imam in different police stations of Bengal.
Later, the Kolkata Police officers visited Barkati and the red beacon was removed from his car.
He had also drawn flak for commenting that Muslims would "fight for Pakistan if India became a Hindu state".
His comments led to a hue and cry, with the BJP and other Sangh Parivar outfits dubbing him "anti-national" and senior West Bengal minister Siddiqullah Chowdhury, regarded as a prominent face of the ruling Trinamool Congress, calling Barkati an RSS agent.
(With Agency inputs)