After Sonu Nigam accepted Kolkata cleric Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi’s challenge to shave his head, Quaderi said the Bollywood singer did it to get rid of lice in his hair.
A report in India Today quotes Quaderi as saying, “Sonu Nigam wanted to get rid of lice… and wanted to escape the summer heat, so got his head shaved. He has completed on a part of my challenge. Two conditions remain to be accepted.”
“If he wants to stay in India, he will have to follow the norms of the land. He must tolerate azaan and mandir ka ghanta alike,” the report quoted Quaderi as saying and added, “Sonu Nigam must complete the remaining two challenges – wear a garland of old torn shoes and a tour around the country – to win the Rs 10 lakh prize money that I had announced.”
The report also quotes Quaderi praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and talking about how PM Modi stopped his speech midway for azaan.
“I salute PM Modi. He stopped speaking as soon as azaan was heard from a nearby mosque and waited till it got over. Both PM Modi and Mamata Bannerjee respect the Constitution of the country and know how to show respect to every religion,” the report quoted Quaderi as saying.
Sonu Nigam shaved off his head on Wednesday, hours after offering to apologize if his tweets on azaan blared from loudspeakers were seen to be anti-Muslim.
After the tweets sparked a row, Syed Shah Atif Ali Al-Qaderi announced he would give Rs 10 lakh to anyone who shaves off Sonu Nigam’s head and garlands with footwear.
Sonu Nigam took up the challenge, calling a Muslim barber to do the job.
Sonu Nigam kept his word and then addressed a media conference at his residence in Mumbai as police beefed up security for him.
The cleric, however, refused to pay up, saying only one part of his challenge had been taken up.
The singer appeared before journalists with a clean-shaven pate, wearing spectacles and smiling away even as Muslim groups protested and threatened to move the court against him.
“All I wanted was consideration for one another… Everyone has the right to have an opinion. My opinion is in temple, masjid and gurudwara, loudspeakers are not religious necessities. It is not part of a religion,” said Sonu Nigam.
“When loudspeakers are installed in religious places, it is sort of a declaration that ‘this is my religion’. The same goes for people dancing on roads drunk during religious processions. I am against that,” he added.
“I am very secular. I am not right or left wing. I stand in between. I’ve never had to make a speech like this. I just raised a social topic, not a religious topic,” Sonu Nigam added.
It all started on Monday when Sonu Nigam lashed out at ‘forced religiousness’ in India after being woken up by azaan from a mosque near his home. He later clarified that he was not against any one religion.