Days after the controversy over singer Sonu Nigam's tweet about being woken up by the azaan from a mosque near his home, and calling it gundagardi (hooliganism), the Punjab and Haryana high court has said that while the azaan was an integral part of Islam, it did not need to be blared through loudspeakers.
The Hindustan Times reported that a single-judge bench was hearing a petition by Aas Mohammad, a resident of Sonepat in Haryana, who sough criminal proceedings against the singer.
The newspaper quoted the bench as saying, "A fair interpretation of the words used by respondent no 4 (Nigam) clearly indicates that the word 'gundagardi' in tweet no 4 is not addressed in the context of Azaan but the use of loudspeakers and amplifiers."
Justice MMS Bedi cited the M. Veerateswaran vs deputy collector case taken up by the Madras High Court in 2003, where Justice K Sampath had observed that no religion was entitled to using loudspeakers.
Earlier in April, Nigam, in a series of tweets had criticised the use of loudspeakers for religious purposes.
God bless everyone. I'm not a Muslim and I have to be woken up by the Azaan in the morning. When will this forced religiousness end in India— Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 16, 2017
And by the way Mohammed did not have electricity when he made Islam.. Why do I have to have this cacophony after Edison?— Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 17, 2017
I don't believe in any temple or gurudwara using electricity To wake up people who don't follow the religion . Why then..? Honest? True?— Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 17, 2017
Nigam had faced much flak for his comments, and a fatwa was issued against him by an imam Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi who is from West Bengal. He had also offered Rs 10 lakh to anyone who would shave Nigam's head.
Nigam continued to defend his tweets and held a press conference where he had said, "I am a secular person. It was not about Azaan, it was about the loud sound. Playing loud sound on a speaker is Gundagardi for me."
And in this dramatic press conference he went ahead and got his head shaved.
Almost a month later, the matter will perhaps be put to rest, now that an observation has come from a high court.
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