Bengal Polls: Applause At Political Rally, Brickbats At Home For Popular Muslim Cleric
Kolkata: Abbas Siddiqui, the Pir of the 700-year-old Muslim shrine of Furfura Sharif in West Bengal, was the cynosure of all eyes at a rally called by the Left Front and Congress at Brigade Parade ground in Kolkata to drum up support ahead of the Assembly elections from next month.
Even as Abbas emerged as the new star of Bengal politics at the rally, there was bickering back home in Hooghly that he had tarnished the image of Furfura Sharif.
“Pir Hazrat Dada Huzur Rah, the social reformer and Pir of Furfura Sharif, never did politics and has no history of supporting any party. However, leaders of different political parties used to come to him to seek his blessings. But Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui has marred the image of Furfura Sharif by taking part in a political rally,” said Pirzada Taha Siddiqui, the head of Mojjadediya Anath Foundation at Furfura Sharif.
“Today (Sunday) is a day of stigma in the history of the shrine,” Taha added.
Abbas, who formed Indian Secular Front (ISF) to form alliances with like-minded parties and contest the Assembly polls in Bengal, had given a fiery speech at the Brigade Parade Ground.
However, Taha felt this went against the tradition of the shrine. “Dada Huzur requested all parties to work for the welfare of the people,” he said, adding: “In the glorious chapter of 700 years of Furfura Sharif, no Pir Sahib had done such dirty politics. This has exposed the real face of Abbas. His real face and mask were exposed in front of millions of fans.”
Taha claimed that the attack on the grassroots by Abbas during his speech at the rally has “given oxygen to the BJP” by propagating communal politics. “There is no tolerance for communal forces in Bengal,” he added.
The elder Pirs and Pirzadas of Furfura Sharif have remained silent on the issue. Some have said that their job is to do social service and not politics.