Imam Barkati a threat to secular ethos of country: Siddiquallah Chaudhary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind

By Staff Reporter

The West Bengal secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and a minister in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, Maulana Siddiqullah Chaudhary has severely criticised the recent actions of the controversial imam of Tipu Sultan mosque in Kolkata Imam Maulana Noor-ur Rehman Barkati and called him a threat to the country’s secular ethos.

Chaudhary has called a press conference on the matter on Saturday, May 13, in Kolkata Press Club to address the issue. He added that Barkati’s recent comments go against the Indian constitution and that this must not be allowed under any circumstance.

Barkati, who is said to be close to Mamata Banerjee had an FIR filed against him for refusing to comply with the Centre’s ban on the use of lal batti (red beacon). But Barkati remained unfazed.

“I am a religious leader and 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 the red beacon”, Barkati told news agency PTI. Barkati was offered police protection and a red beacon vehicle during the Left Regime in West Bengal and has been using the same for over three decades.

This is not the first time that Barkati has made such controversial statements. Just a few days ago, Barkati issued a Fatwa which said those Muslims who support RSS and BJP would be ostracised from the community. In January, he offered Rs 25 lakh as a reward to anyone who would chop off Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s beard and smear him with ink due to demonetisation. His statement was criticised by Muslim leaders across the spectrum, who said that he had brought disgrace to the post of Imam with his immature comments.