KOLKATA: A police complaint has been lodged against Tipu Sultan Mosque Shahi Imam Maulana Noor-ur Rehman Barkati – the cleric who recently threatened ‘jihad’ and refused to take off the beacon from his vehicle – by the mosque’s trustee board on Monday, an official said.
“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,” head of the Board, Anwar Ali Shah told IANS over phone.
According to Anwar, the office room was opened in the mosque under 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 alleged.
On reports that Barkati has been sacked as the Imam, Anwar said nothing has been officially announced by the mosque authority.
However, he revealed that a process has been started to terminate him from the post after evaluating the charges against him.
“It is not official yet. However, Barkati is aware that steps would be taken against him for constantly making wrong statements and politicising a religious institution. That’s why he is hellbent on destroying the papers,” Anwar claimed.
The sources at the mosque said that a deputation would be given to the mosque and the respective police station to remove Barkati from the position of Imam, followed by a public meeting on Tuesday.
“The decision on Barkati would be officialy announced by the trustee board on Wednesday afternoon,” the source added.
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.
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 Privar 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.
Finally, under pressure from the state government, Barkati was forced to take off the beacon from his vehicle.