The imam who loves to flaunt his burgundy beard and is often seen caressing his pet cat enjoys considerable clout.(Subhankar Chakrabarty/HT)
The imam who loves to flaunt his burgundy beard and is often seen caressing his pet cat enjoys considerable clout.(Subhankar Chakrabarty/HT)

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

Barkati, who loves to call himself shahi imam, told a TV channel on May 9 that the British permitted the use of red beacon and he won’t remove it.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Kolkata, Kolkata
UPDATED ON MAY 12, 2017 07:59 PM IST

The imam of Kolkata’s Tipu Sultan mosque, Noor-ur-Rehman Barkati, better known as the ‘fatwa imam’ for issuing fatwas against personalities ranging from Taslima Nasreen to Narendra Modi, has again sparked a controversy for refusing give up a red beacon on his car.

Barkati, who loves to call himself shahi imam, told a TV channel on May 9 that the British permitted the use of red beacon and he won’t remove it. The government banned from May 1 red beacons atop cars of all ministers, politicians and bureaucrats, ending a privilege that was seen as the ultimate status symbol.

Late on Thursday night, a police complaint was lodged against the imam in Kolkata . Political leaders across parties have started speaking against him. There is also a barrage of comments against him on social media, and a number of them are from people of his own faith.

According to the police complaint, Barkati repeatedly said that chief minister Mamata Banerjee did not oppose the beacon.

“The British government has permitted us to install red light, so why should I remove it,” Barkati has said. The imam is not taking calls despite repeated attempts for the past two days.

The imam who loves to flaunt his burgundy beard and is often seen caressing his pet cat enjoys considerable clout. He is given police protection and recently also got away after issuing a fatwa against the Prime Minister despite a police complaint filed against him by state BJP leaders.

This time he is attracting criticism from political parties too. CPI (M) politburo member and Lok Sabha MP, Mohammad Salim told HT that the imam has no right to use a red beacon.

“He is deliberately created by Trinamool to create a binary between two communities. He enjoys the ruling party patronage and thinks himself to be someone of importance. His comments on red beacon are the reflection of his arrogance, which Trinamool is deliberately pampering,” Salim said.

Congress State Secretary and Jadavpur University Professor Omprakash Mishra has written on his Facebook wall that the Mamata Banerjee government is silent over the issue as taking off the red beacon from imam’s car may spell doom for the party.

“He has publicly said that the chief minister has asked him to continue with the red beacon. After this none in the state cabinet is in any position to comment on the matter,” a senior member of the state cabinet told HT on Friday.

Barkati, who has been the head of the prominent mosque at the heart of Kolkata’s business district for more than 30 years, was never bothered by the ruling establishment. He is believed to have enjoyed the beacon atop his car for as long as he assumed charge of the mosque.

“We demand and request you that Imam Barkati should be arrested as soon as possible to start judicial proceeding against him,” reads the two-page complaint.

In January this year, when asked whether he feared arrest after issuing a fatwa against the Prime Minister, he told HT, “When I walk on the roads, four policemen protect me.”

Other prominent names to have drawn his ire include author Salman Rushdie, Bangladesh-born writer Taslima Nasreen and Canadian columnist Tarek Fateh. The exiled Bangladeshi author, in fact, had three fatwas issued against her -- once in 2004 for her ‘anti-Islamic’ comments, then in 2006 and again in 2007. With each fatwa, Barkati hiked the bounty on her head.

In his edict against Modi, Barkati announced a cash reward of Rs 25 lakh for anyone who blackens his face. His diktat outraged many and the BJP lodged a complaint with the police, seeking his immediate arrest.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a public meeting.(PTI Photo)
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a public meeting.(PTI Photo)

'Masterstroke': Mamata Banerjee brings Nandigram back in focus

By HT Correspondent, Kolkata
UPDATED ON JAN 18, 2021 10:59 PM IST
  • Banerjee is set to contest against Adhikari, who said he will quit politics if the chief minister doesn’t lose by 50,000 votes.
Close
President of BJP’s Bengal unit Dilip Ghosh.(HT File Photo)
President of BJP’s Bengal unit Dilip Ghosh.(HT File Photo)

BJP cautions Bengal leaders against 'discussing internal moves' with outsiders

By HT Correspondent, Kolkata
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 11:56 PM IST
  • The leaders said in view of the upcoming assembly elections, nobody is henceforth allowed to discuss crucial organisational decisions, policy matters with outsiders.
Close
Trinamool Congress MLA Jitendra Tiwari.(ANI)
Trinamool Congress MLA Jitendra Tiwari.(ANI)

Eyes on polls, TMC reshuffles three district units; Jitendra Tiwari sidelined

By Tanmay Chatterjee, Kolkata
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 11:45 PM IST
  • The most significant reshuffle was made in West Burdwan where two adjacent Lok Sabha seats are represented by Union ministers Babul Supriyo and SS Ahluwalia.
Close
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a public meeting. (PTI Photo)
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a public meeting. (PTI Photo)

Covid-19: Mamata administration questions Centre’s vaccination data

By Joydeep Thakur, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 03:15 PM IST
  • A senior official of the West Bengal government said on Saturday that that the state had set a target to vaccinate 20,700 health workers on the first day.
Close
TMC MP Satabdi Roy said that she had discussed all her grievances with Abhishek Banerjee, the chief minister's nephew.(HT_PRINT)
TMC MP Satabdi Roy said that she had discussed all her grievances with Abhishek Banerjee, the chief minister's nephew.(HT_PRINT)

After rebellion, TMC MP Satabdi Roy made party’s Bengal vice-president

By HT Correspondent, Kolkata
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 03:17 PM IST
  • The elevation comes amidst talk that an aggrieved Roy may join the BJP after a possible meeting with Union home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.
Close
A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a frontline worker after the virtual launch of the COVID-19 vaccination drive at a Hospital in Kolkata on Saturday. ((ANI Photo))
A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a frontline worker after the virtual launch of the COVID-19 vaccination drive at a Hospital in Kolkata on Saturday. ((ANI Photo))

Kolkata nurse stable, experts try to find cause of illness post vaccination

PTI, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 02:55 PM IST
The health department official, who is also a prominent doctor, said the experts are examining her condition as of now, and the analysis might take some time.
Close
“I am absolutely fine. The wait for the vaccine is finally over but we cannot let our guards down against the virus,” Dr Anima Halder said
“I am absolutely fine. The wait for the vaccine is finally over but we cannot let our guards down against the virus,” Dr Anima Halder said

‘Necessary for docs to take first shot to break any myths’

By HT Correspondent, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 03:44 AM IST
“It was a nice feeling to have received the vaccine on the first day. It was also necessary for doctors to take the first shot as it would break any myths and encourage others to come forward to take the vaccine.” said Dr Anima Halder.
Close
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.(File photo)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.(File photo)

'Will bear cost': Mamata Banerjee requests Centre for adequate supply of vaccine

By HT Correspondent, Kolkata
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 12:01 AM IST
As many as 14 out of 15,707 vaccine recipients developed adverse effects after immunisation while health of a nurse turned serious after taking the jab.
Close
File photo: TMC party flags(FILE PHOTO.)
File photo: TMC party flags(FILE PHOTO.)

'To err is human,' says TMC as MLA’s name figures in list of vaccine recipients

By HT Correspondent, Kolkata/siliguri
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 09:31 PM IST
  • The TMC leadership downplayed the incident calling it an error that was being blown out of proportion.
Close
When the vaccination drive took off at 204 centres across West Bengal, problems were encountered with the CoWIN app(Agencies)
When the vaccination drive took off at 204 centres across West Bengal, problems were encountered with the CoWIN app(Agencies)

Vaccination hits a hurdle in Bengal as Co-WIN app develops glitches on 1st day

By Joydeep Thakur | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 03:16 PM IST
  • The app was not opening. We had to log in and log out several times. It was also too slow, said an official.
Close
Today, Indian companies have 30 potential vaccines in their pipelines, with several of the most promising backed by government funding. Our foundation is partnering with the department of biotechnology, the Indian Council of Medical Research, and the office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to provide insights from our global research and development work that might inform India’s vaccine development efforts.(REUTERS)
Today, Indian companies have 30 potential vaccines in their pipelines, with several of the most promising backed by government funding. Our foundation is partnering with the department of biotechnology, the Indian Council of Medical Research, and the office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to provide insights from our global research and development work that might inform India’s vaccine development efforts.(REUTERS)

Bengal ready for Covid-19 vaccination drive; CM to monitor exercise

PTI
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 10:37 PM IST
Vials of Covishield, which arrived in the city from Pune's Serum Institute on Tuesday, have been ferried to cold chain facilities at the five medical colleges in Kolkata as well as other hospitals in the districts, an official said.
Close
File photo: Union home minister Amit Shah.(PTI)
File photo: Union home minister Amit Shah.(PTI)

TMC’s to send crack team to secure Matua votes ahead of Shah’s Bengal visit

By Joydeep Thakur, Kolkata
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 09:43 PM IST
  • For the Matua community, permanent citizenship is a longstanding demand.
Close
The Covid-19 vaccination drive will begin on January 16.(File photo)
The Covid-19 vaccination drive will begin on January 16.(File photo)

First consignment of Covishield vaccine reaches West Bengal's Siliguri

ANI
UPDATED ON JAN 14, 2021 02:18 PM IST
The Home Department of West Bengal government on January 12 had tweeted, "The first consignment of 6.89 lakh Covishield vaccines arrived today in our state at 2:30 PM by a special cargo flight of Spicejet at Kolkata airport."
Close
West Bengal has been allocated 6,44,500 vaccines for the first phase of the drive.
West Bengal has been allocated 6,44,500 vaccines for the first phase of the drive.

Kolkata allocated highest number of Covid vaccines in Bengal

PTI, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2021 11:16 AM IST
North 24 Parganas district has been allocated the second-highest number of Covid vaccines at 47,000, followed by Murshidabad at 37,500, he said.
Close
"The reason for the fire is not known. The firemen are fighting it tooth and nail and hopefully, it will soon be under control," a senior officer of the Kolkata Police was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.(Sourced Image)
"The reason for the fire is not known. The firemen are fighting it tooth and nail and hopefully, it will soon be under control," a senior officer of the Kolkata Police was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.(Sourced Image)

Fire breaks out at a slum in Kolkata's Baghbazar area

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Harshit Sabarwal, Kolkata
UPDATED ON JAN 13, 2021 08:46 PM IST
This is the second fire incident reported in the capital city of West Bengal today. Earlier, a fire broke out at a go-down in the Manicktala area with five fire tenders rushed to the spot, according to police officials.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP