Kolkata: Nur-ur Rehman Barkati, a city based Muslim cleric known for issuing fatwas against political leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and author Salman Rushdie, made a counter-offer of Rs 22 lakh for the BJP youth wing leader’s head who announced a reward of Rs 11 lakh for beheading West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Yogesh Varshney, a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in Aligarh, announced the price on Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s head following state police action against a saffron rally billed as a show of strength.
The threat came a day after police baton charged hundreds of saffron activists who took out massive rallies in the heart of Kolkata to mark Hanuman Jayanti, highlighting the growing muscle of right-wing forces in a state the BJP barely managed a toehold in the past.
“Mamata Banerjee is our respected leader and I consider her as my sister. I will pay Rs 22 lakh to anyone who brings me the head of the BJP leader. It is expected that fascist RSS-BJP will be speaking the language of hoodlums,” Nur-ur Rehman Barkati, imam of Kolkata’s Tipu Sultan Shahi Mosque and one of the most influential Muslim clerics in the state, told Hindustan Times.
The issue was raised in both Houses of Parliament by Trinamool Congress members and all major political parties, including the Congress, Left, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party, and the government condemned the statement.
Party Rajya Sabha member Sukhendu Shekhar Roy highlighted the matter on the floor of the in the Upper House, saying the BJP youth activist publicly described West Bengal CM as a “demon” and announced the bounty.
Bharatiya Janata Party state president Dilip Ghosh known for his acerbic comments, too, condemned the statement. “Such madness has no place in politics,” Ghosh said.
Intellectuals in Kolkata also expressed their shock at the statement.