Barkati set to be removed as Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque, formal announcement likely today

Report by: 
Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay
Kolkata
16 May 2017

Following the controversy over his dogged refusal to remove the red beacon on his vehicle and then ultimately giving in under pressure from the state government, Moulana Syed Noorur Rahman Barkati, the Shahi Imam of the Tipu Sultan Mosque is all set to be removed from his post by the mosques’s Board of Trustees. A formal announcement is going to be made by the Board tomorrow at a media conference at Kolkata press club.

``Barkati saab has forgotten that his job is to lead prayers and nothing else. But he has gone beyond that. It is not the job of an Imam and not acceptable,'' Shahezada Anwar Ali Shah, Mutawalli of the mosque, told The Echo of India. However, a spokesman for the Imam, who is close to chief minister Mamata Banerjee said Barkati would remain the Imam and would lead prayers. ``There are many canards doing the round about Imamsaab. We are not perturbed,'' the spokesman told The Echo of India.
Observers feel Barkati’s removal was engineered by the State administration which was several times embarrassed by highly controversial comments and fatwas of the Imam. He even once issued a fatwa that he would reward anybody who would shave the beard and hair of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  He also threatened to launch “jihad if one tries to make the country a Hindu Rashtra.”
Two days back state minister of state for Library services Siddiqulah Chaudhary termed the Imam an agent of RSS and called him anti-Islam.