After asserting 'right', Kolkata Imam Barkati removes red beacon from vehicle

Kolkata: The Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid on Saturday removed the red beacon from his vehicle, two days after asserting that it was his "right" to use it.

Representational Image. Reuters.

Representational Image. Reuters.

"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," Maulana Noor-ur Rehman Barkati said.

A senior officer of Kolkata traffic police said that the Imam had removed the red beacon of his own volition.

On Thursday, the clergyman had said: "I am a religious leader and I have been using the red beacon for decades. I do not follow the orders of the Centre. Who are they to order me? In Bengal, only the orders of the state government are effective. I will use the red beacon."

The Centre, seeking to put an end to 'VIP culture', had decided that red beacons would be removed from all vehicles, including that of the prime minister, from 1 May.

A police compliant was filed on Wednesday against Barkati for defying the central government's order.

State Library and Mass Education Minister Maulana Siddiqullah Chaudhary criticised Barkati for defying the order saying that a Shahi Imam does not require a beacon. "Such an act is against Islam, as it does not support violation of law," he said.

Updated Date: May 13, 2017 18:40 PM

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