Kolkata: Days after his controversial comments regarding the use of red beacon on his vehicle, the influential cleric of Kolkata, Moulana Syed Noorur Rahman Barkati, the Shahi Imam of the Tipu Sultan Mosque was removed from his post by the Mosques’s Board of Trustees.
Speaking to the media on Saturday, the head of the Board, Shahezada Anwar Ali Shah said Mr Barkati was removed “from the post of the Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque for his anti-national comments.”
Mr. Barkati could not be reached for his response.
The British government permitted us to install the red light, so why should I remove it?” Barkati was earlier reported to have said.
The development comes on a day when Mr. Barkati was asked to remove the red beacon from his vehicle by the civil administration. However, he claimed that he has done so “voluntarily”.
Observers termed Mr Barkati’s removal “a kind of a coup” by the State administration to oust the most powerful cleric of the city, who was often seen in public with the Chief Minister.
The Moulana’s removal follows a series of confrontations with the administration. On Tuesday, Mr. Barkati had refused to abide by the Centre’s direction prohibiting the use of red beacon on non-emergency vehicles.
He also threatened to launch “jihad if one tries to make the country a Hindu Rashtra.”
Meanwhile, Barkati has lodged a complaint against Minister Siddiqullah Chowdhury for staging a protest outside the mosque over the matter.