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Posted at: May 18, 2017, 1:41 AM; last updated: May 18, 2017, 1:41 AM (IST)

Cleric sacked for hate speech

Kolkata Imam threatened to beat up Muslims if they joined RSS or BJP

Controversial past

  • Issued fatwa against PM after note ban
  • Threatened jihad if India made Hindu state
  • Recently refused to give up his red beacon
  • Made objectionable remark against nation
Cleric sacked for hate speech
Noor Barkati (right)

Tribune News Service

Kolkata, May 17

Controversial Muslim cleric Noor-ur-Rehman Barkati was today sacked as the imam of Kolkata’s Tipu Sultan mosque by a meeting of the trustees of the 165-year-old mosque.

Barkati—said to be close to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee—was fired for making “objectionable and inflammatory remarks against the country”.

The cleric has found himself at the centre of controversy on multiple occasions over fatwas issued by him against high-profile persons. However, his latest fatwa against Prime Minister Narendra Modi (for demonetisation) and threat of a ‘jihad’ if India was declared a Hindu state had apparently sealed his fate.

Barkati was recently under the spotlight also for refusing to remove the red beacon from atop his vehicle despite the Centre’s decision to do away with this symbol of being a “VIP”. The cleric was forced to remove the beacon by the state government.

According to Arif Ahmed, chairman of the Prince Gholam Mohammad Wakf Estate, the custodian of the mosque, the termination notice to Barkati was sent today. The notice says that he is no more the Imam.  Barkati has been given seven days to vacate the office or face forcible eviction.

A defiant Barkati, however, said there was no question of him quitting the Imam’s post. “I became Imam 30 years ago. The committee came into existence only 12 years ago. It has no right to fire me. The trustees have hatched a conspiracy against me with the help of a section of the media. I will take legal steps,” he said. 

Barkati also said that he would speak to the Chief Minister on her return from Delhi.? Shahezada Anwar Ali Shah, the head of the mosque board, had earlier described Barkati as a “blot” on the Muslim community.

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