A Karnataka BJP leader has made controversial remarks on Azaan and asked if “Allah is deaf” that loudspeakers need to be used to call him. The remarks are likely to stoke again the azaan debate, which had reached the high court last year.
Senior BJP leader and former minister KS Eshwarappa was addressing a public gathering when Azaan – meaning a prayer call – went out from a mosque nearby. “Wherever I go, this (Azaan) gives me a headache,” Mr Eshwarappa said. “Supreme Court’s judgment is due, if not today, this call for Azaan will come to an end.”
The BJP leader then questioned if Allah will listen to prayers only if loudspeakers are used during Azaan. “In temples, girls and women offer prayers and bhajans. We are religious, but we don’t use loudspeakers. If you have to call for prayers using loudspeakers, it means Allah is deaf,” he added.
Mr Eshwarappa, who has also served as a deputy Chief Minister, is no stranger to controversies. He earlier sparked a row when he referred to 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan as a “Muslim gunda”.
The senior leader had to step down as minister last year in the wake of a contractor’s suicide. Mr Eshwarappa was named in the police case as the contractor had accused him of being “solely responsible” for his death in the final messages.
‘Azaan’ has been a subject of intense debate for long now, with a section arguing that use of loudspeakers for the call to prayer can be disturbing to people of other faiths.
The Supreme Court had in July 2005 banned the use of loudspeakers between 10 pm to 6 am except in the cases of public emergencies, citing health impacts of noise pollution. Later, in October 2005, the court said loudspeakers could be permitted to be used till midnight on festive occasions for 15 days a year.
Hearing a public interest litigation that claimed that contents of azaan hurt sentiments of those from other faiths, the Karnataka High Court last year said refused to issue any direction to mosques and held that tolerance is the characteristic of the Constitution. The court said that the contention that azaan violates the fundamental rights of those from other faiths cannot be accepted.
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