Muslim clerics in Bengal demand ban on RSS, say Ram Navami processions with weapons illegal
Muslim organisations has called for a rally on April 21 to promote communal harmony. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee will be invited to attend.
Even as Hindu groups observed Ram Navami across Bengal amid fanfare on Wednesday, compelling even Trinamool leaders to offer greetings to the people, top Muslim clerics demanded a ban the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS), expulsion of Muslim intellectual Tarek Fatah from the country for “repeatedly insulting the Prophet” and clampdown on a prime television channel for airing Fatah’s views.
Members of the West Bengal Minority United Council who claimed to have gathered “under the guidance” of the All India Majlis-e-Shoora, Tipu Sultan Masjid, demanded that chief minister Mamata Banerjee should ban the RSS in Bengal and persuade the BJP Government to expel Tarek Fatah. “Is it permissible in the book of law to raise swords and lathis at RSS gatherings and create a sense of insecurity among other communities?” said Khalid Ebadullah, president of the council.
The council aired its demands before the media in the presence of Trinamool MP Idris Ali who attempted to distance himself from the sensitive topics. “I did not know what the issue was when I was invited today by the Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid. I request the media not to twist the news. The Muslim community will organise a rally on April 21 to promote communal harmony. The Shahi Imam has also invited the chief minister to the rally,” said the Trinamool leader even as he alleged that the RSS was involved in communal activities.
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One of the most influential Muslim clerics in the state and Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid, Syed Muhammad Nur-ur Rehman Barkati announced before the media that thousands of Muslims would gather in the heart of Kolkata on April 21 to voice their demands and promote communal harmony. “RSS has become a big threat to all Indians, not just Muslims. It should be banned for the same reasons the Taliban was banned by the US government. And, Tarek Fatah deserves no mercy for what he is doing,” Barkati later told HT on the sidelines of the news conference.
He even alleged that carrying swords and other weapons in Ram Navami processions violated the law and culture of India. “Tipu Sultan’s sword is still preserved in our mosque. Do we carry it on the streets? Display of weapons scare people. It goes against the law of the land,” said Barkati.
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Barkati, who had announced a Fatwa against controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen during the Left Front regime, forcing the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya government to refuse her shelter, said he had earlier announced a similar fatwa against Tarek Fatah. “If the government doesn’t oust him immediately, protests will be carried out across the country and the government will be responsible for the consequences,” he said, quoting a few lines from the Quran.
“Please remember that when a famous Muslim painter came under fire and was forced to leave India for insulting Hindu deities we did not interfere or offer support,” Barkati told HT without naming Maqbool Fida Husain.