Barely a day after Syed Noor-ur Rehman Barkati was removed as Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid by the mosque’s custodian committee, the controversial cleric was injured in a scuffle between his supporters and people from the local Muslim community who want Barkati to vacate office immediately.
To stop the tension from escalating, a police contingent was deployed outside the mosque which stands at the heart of Chowringhee Square. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 was also enforced by the Kolkata Police.
To add to Barkati’s woos, Tahaffuz- E- Masjid Committee, the highest body of mosque committees in West Bengal, demanded legal action against Barkati if he did not vacate the Imam’s office within the seven-day deadline.
The scuffle between Barkati’s supporters and local people started soon after the completion of the Asr Namaz (afternoon daily prayer) on Thursday. In the midst of the scuffle, Barkati was allegedly hit on the head by one of the protesters.
Later, Barkati told media persons that the protesters and the man who assaulted him were “outsiders” who had some “vested interest”. “A pious Muslim can never assault an Imam. The protesters were all outsiders and it is possible that they were appointed by the Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh,” Barkati told reporters after the scuffle.
Earlier, Maulana Sharafat Abrar Qasmi Dinajpuri, the convener of Tahaffuz- E- Masjid Committee, an association of 494 mosque committees, said that legal provisions should be enforced against Barkati if he does not vacate the imam’s office even after termination of service.
“If he has some self-respect he should vacate the office instead of inviting legal action against himself. His anti- national comments has embarrassed the entire committee. He has insulted the post of imam by speaking against a particular political party. He is an Imam for all namazis who may have different political beliefs. If he wants to enter active politics he must discontinue as imam,” said Abrar.
He also condemned Barkati’s fatwa against Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. “After all he the Prime Minister of the country and his chair should be respected,” said Abrar.