The Mamata Banerjee led West Bengal government has managed to notch another controversy after appointing a Muslim as the head of the Tarkeshwar Temple’s board. The Mamata government had recently announced a grant of Rs 5 crore and also constituted a temple development board to oversee the development of the temple and its nearby areas.
The Mamata Government chose to appoint West Bengal’s state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim as the Chairman of the board. This ended up upsetting many with BJP leader Subramanian Swamy stating that as the board of a temple is a religious matter, there isn’t a scope of a person from another religion to interfere. He has also announced his intention to seek legal recourse if the Mamata government didn’t withdraw its appointment.
Not just the decision of the Mamata government to possibly try and interfere into the temple affairs is being deemed controversial, but the choice of the individual Firhad Hakim too is raising eyebrows.
It turns out that the state minister is no stranger to controversies. In April 2016, while the Assembly elections in West Bengal were underway, Firhad Hakim had created a huge uproar after describing his Kolkata Port constituency as ”Mini-Pakistan” to the Dawn newspaper of Pakistan. The Dawn correspondent had also apparently concurred with his statement after observing many signboards in his constituency to have been written in Urdu.
A few days before that controversy, he was also embroiled in the Narada sting operation. The sting operation carried over a period of 2 years had shown 12 TMC leaders and ministers including Firhad Hakim taking bribes in exchange of favours.
His name has also cropped up in the infamous Saradha chit fund scam after allegations about his role were made by Asif Khan a former aide of ex-Railway Minister Mukul Roy.