Muslim cleric Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi on Thursday claimed Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam had disrespected the Constitution with his comment over the use of loudspeakers in shrines, adding he should consider leaving the country.
“Sonu (Nigam) has insulted the Constitution of the country…. I think such a person must consider leaving the country,” Quaderi, the vice-president of West Bengal Minority United Council, said here.
“If people have a problem with azaan and the sound of bells in temples, then they should leave the country. Being a citizen of this country, one has to respect the religious activities of every religion,” he added.
The cleric also refused to pay Rs 10 lakh to the singer after he shaved his head, instead asking him to apologise for “hurting the religious sentiment of Indians” and fulfil the “other two conditions of the challenge”.
“First of all, he did not complete the challenge. Two other conditions remain. He has shaved his head only to get rid of lice and escape the summer heat. He should fulfil the other two conditions, which are to wear a garland of old shoes around his neck and visit houses of 130 crore people of the country and apologise to them,” Quaderi said at a news conference.
On Wednesday, singer Sonu Nigam shaved his head and asked the Kolkata-based cleric, who had announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh to anybody who tonsured the Bollywood singer and garlanded him with old shoes, to pay him. Quaderi had given this call to condemn the singer’s complaint on Twitter about being woken up by the sound of azaan. He also said some media houses misinterpreted his comments as fatwa.
“I did not issue a fatwa. It was just my personal opinion. Being a citizen of this country, everybody has a right to freedom of speech,” he said.
“I salute Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He had stopped speaking during a rally as soon as he heard azaan from a nearby mosque. Similarly, Mamata Banerjee also respects other religions and observes fast during Ramzan. People should learn from these leaders. They know how to show respect to the constitution and every religion of this country,” he said.