Twitterati on Tuesday called for the arrest of Syed Mohammad Nurur Rahman Barkati — the Shahi Imam of the Tipu Sultan Masjid of Kolkata — after he threatened to behead Canadian author and activist Tarek Fatah on live television.
This is the same Imam who had issued a fatwa against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying anybody who blackened the BJP leader's face would be rewarded Rs 25 lakh. He has also issued another fatwa, announcing a cash reward for the head of controversial author Taslima Nasreen.
What the Imam said
Imam Barkati and Fatah were locked in a debate on a news channel recently, when the former said on live television that the latter would be beheaded. Fatah, later sharing the video of the incident, wrote on his official Facebook account: "Despite committing a criminal act by issuing a death threat, trust this man to walk free under the protection of Kolkata Police."
Fatah's statement was also a reference to the close ties the Muslim cleric shares with the Trinamool Congress, which rules West Bengal with government headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Barkati's closeness to the Trinamool was also on display when he was issuing the fatwa against Modi, because it was at a press conference called by Trinamool MP Idris Ali.
See the video here:
How Twitterati reacted
Twitter on Tuesday morning was flooded with posts with the hashtag #ArrestMaulanaBukhari, with people having a lot of things to say against him, very few of which were charitable. He was also called a lot of names.
The outrage was as much against the beheading threat on live television as the fatwa against PM Modi.
Even India cricketer Ravindra Jadeja waded into the issue with his two cents, and what he had to say reflected the general mood quite wholesomely.
Some of the hate was directed at our politicians as well:
It now remains to be seen whether Barkati is arrested, and if so, for which of his statements — the fatwa on Modi or the beheading threat to Tarek Fatah.