Several top BJP leaders were arrested Thursday while taking out a rally to condemn the comments of the Shahi Iman of Tipu Sultan Mosque, who had recently issued a “fatwa” against state party chief Dilip Ghosh. The rally had begun from Central Avenue near BJP state office, and was scheduled to reach Tipu Sultan Mosque in Esplanade. The police had cordoned off Central Avenue and asked BJP workers not to proceed, but when they tried to move ahead, police used force to stop them from crossing the barricade. “Some BJP leaders and workers have been arrested. We tried to stop them but they tried to force their way, so we had to arrest them. At this moment we can’t give the figures and names,” a senior police official said.
The BJP claimed Ghosh was injured during a scuffle with police when it had tried to stop the rally. Senior leaders including MLA Swadhin Kumar Sarkar and state BJP general secretary Deboshree Chowdhary were also arrested. “This is inhuman and undemocratic. We are not being allowed to take out a rally peacefully. We condemn this autocratic rule of TMC. They (TMC) are so busy with appeasement politics that we are not allowed to take out a rally,” said Ghosh.
On Monday, Maulauna Noor-ur Rahman Barkati, the Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque, had issued a fatwa against Ghosh for making “filthy comments” against the chief minister. Ghosh had claimed his party could have “dragged” Mamata “by the hair” when she was in New Delhi, but had chosen not to, a comment for which he was forced to apologise in the Assembly.
While issuing the fatwa, Barkati, had said, “From where does he (Ghosh) get such audacity to make filthy comments against our beloved chief minister, who is the most secular leader of our country? I issued the fatwa which states he should be pelted with stones and then kicked out of Bengal. He does not deserve to stay in Bengal.”
Hitting back, Ghosh said: “What does Barkati think? Is this Bangladesh or Pakistan that he will issue a fatwa against me? He can issue a fatwa against TMC, they will listen to him, but not BJP. It seems that Barkati no longer wishes to stay in Bengal or India. I think he is planning to migrate to Pakistan or Bangladesh.”