Kolkata: Now, it’s official! Maulana Nurur Rehman Barkati, is no longer the imam of the iconic Tipu Sutlan Masjid. The trustees of the mosque, in the wake of his back to back controversial fatwas and anti-national statements, resorted to terminating his tenure as serving imam of the mosque.
The two-paged termination letter states, “You were requested twice to provide an explanation of your recent conduct and you chose not to respond to the same, indicating your acceptance that the allegations made are true.” After putting a few more points, the letter goes on to state that on the recommendation of the mutawalli (caretaker of waqf property) of the mosque, he was being removed from position of Imam and that he was to vacate the premise as soon as possible. The pink slip handed out to the imam via a press conference, brings an end to his 29 years tenure with the iconic mosque.
eNewsroom first broke the story of the protest against Imam Barkati and that even shopkeepers have put up hoardings and shut their shops to remove the controversial preacher from Tipu Sultan Mosque. The story got national attention and many media organizations followed it up.
As the news of his termination spread, many from the community began to rejoice. Kashif Zafar, a school teacher from Metiabruz area, ecstatically updated his Facebook status, “Feeling happy that Barkati has been officially terminated from his position.” Many like him were rejoicing his removal, but then they forgot that a person as controversial as Barkati, is not to be terminated by a mere letter.
Soon after the termination made public, Barkati called for a yet another press conference, during which he declared, “I am the Imam of the masjid and I can’t be removed just like that. It’s a conspiracy against me.” He also hinted that Akhbar Mashriq’s executive editor and a Muslim Trinamool Congress leader, were responsible for his termination. He added, “I am waiting for the chief minister to return.”
However, the mutawalli, Anwar Ali on being inquired about this statement of Barkati, he said, “A decision has been taken. He has been terminated, so he will have to leave the premise, if he doesn’t do it in a respectable manner, then we will seek the help of police.”
On the other hand, Zafar, who had organised a protest march against Barkati, said, “We knew that he won’t leave his position so easily. So, we have planned of other ways. Now he will be disgraced publicly so that he is forced to evict. We wont pray behind a imam like him.”
Islam too indicates, that an imam who is disliked by his followers should either mend his ways to gain public affection or leave his position. Elaborating on this Mufti Manzar Hasan Khan Ashrafi Misbahi, the chief Mufti of Madrasa Darul Uloom Ali Hasan Ahle Sunnat, Mumbai said, “Of what I have been hearing by him, he should vacate the position, he has no right to do the imamat (lead the prayer), as neither the public nor the waqf board members wants him to do so.”