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Barkati injured in scuffle during protest by association of mosque committees

Noor-ur Rehman Barkati was sacked on Wednesday with immediate effect. He was given seven days to vacate the imam’s office.

kolkata Updated: May 18, 2017 19:39 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times
Tipu Sultan mosque,Barkati,Imam
Imam Barkati minutes after he was hit on the head on Thursday afternoon by a youth who managed to escape. He was hit inside the Tipu Sultan mosque that he headed since 1989.(HT Photo)

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.

Read: Kolkata imam Barkati who warned of jihad against India sacked by mosque board

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.

Noor -ur Rehman Barkati was an influential figure who owed his clout to the proximity with chief minister Mamata Banerjee. He also enjoyed police protection. ( Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO )

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.

Read: Police complaint against Kolkata’s ‘fatwa imam’ Barkati for not giving up red beacon

“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.

First Published: May 18, 2017 19:39 IST