New Delhi: The Congress, supporting the removal of Maulana Noor-ur-Rehman Barkati from the post of Shahi Imam of Kolkata's Tipu Sultan mosque, accused him of 'politics of polarisation' and said that he doesn't deserve to be called Imam.
"He does not even deserve to be called Imam. The way he makes such inflammatory statements, he cannot be called Imam. Being Imam he involves in politics of polarisation which is not acceptable. The decision to sack him was absolutely right," Congress leader Meem Afzal told news agency ANI on Thursday.
Another Congress leader Tom Vadakkan said that decision has been taken in national interest.
"This would have happened anyway because it would have created a situation where there was a dispute between civil and religious authorities. It is in the larger interest of the country and state that such disputes are sorted out at the right time and right authorities," he told the news agency.
Controversial Islamic cleric Barkati was on Wednesday sacked as the Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque for “objectionable and inflammatory remarks against the country”. He had refused to take off the red beacon from his vehicle but removed it on Tuesday.
Barkati, however, refused to step down, asserting, nobody has the right to remove him.
"We have sent him the notice of termination and he has been asked to vacate the office room allotted to him. We have asked his deputy to conduct prayers and we will appoint a new imam very soon," Prince Ghulam Ahmed Wakf Estate trustee Arif Ahmed said, quoted PTI.
Barkati was embroiled in a controversy last week when he refused to remove the red beacon from his vehicle, saying it was his right to use it.
"No, there was no political pressure on me to remove the red light. How will political parties put pressure on me? I am the Shahi Imam and will follow the law," he said
A senior officer of Kolkata traffic police told news agency PTI that the Imam had removed the red beacon of his own volition.