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Mamata Banerjee is most secular leader: Shahi Imam

  • The Indian Express
  • 7th December, 2015 09:04:23 PM
  • Print news

KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress’ observance of Samhati Divas, or Communal Harmony Day, on Sunday saw political and religious leaders coming together to attack the BJP and its government at the Centre for what they called “its attempt to divide people on the basis of religion”.


“Demolition of a church, temple or masjid is an attack on the country, which a few political parties have been carrying out. In Bengal, too, an attempt to divide people on the basis of religion is being made. This should be resisted,” said Syed Md Nurur Rahman Barkati, Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid.


He also urged the people of Bengal to vote for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying: “India is a secular country and Mamata Banerjee is the most secular leader of the country. It thus becomes pertinent that all should vote for her in the 2016 assembly elections.” Mamata, incidentally, did not attend the rally.


Along with Barkati, there were Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain leaders who were present on the stage. Although the CM’s pictures were splashed at and around the venue and people had expected to turn up, she didn’t come over. One of the top police official present at the occasion when asked if the CM would come, said, “So far there is no news of her to come. She might turn up anytime. We have to be ready for that.”


TMC MP Sudip Bandopadhyay said during the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, only two women – Mother Teresa and Mamata Banerjee – had kept Bengal insulated from any communal riot. “I remember how she visited areas that were prone to communal tension and urged people to maintain communal harmony,” he said.


Criticising BJP, he said the “Modi wave” has fizzled out in the one-and-half year and the poor performance of BJP in the recent polls proves that the party has lost its popularity and people don’t support its “politics of intolerance”.


“The popularity of TMC, on the other hand, remains intact. Whether it is the saffron or the red (Left Front) brigade, whoever attempts to disturb the communal harmony would not be tolerated,” he said, pointing out that the Left Front had been taking out processions to spread “a non-existent political intolerance” in Bengal.