• Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Poll-bound Karnataka: BJP lawmaker taunts Muslims over microphone prayer: ‘Is Allah deaf’?

Bharatiya Janata Party leader KS Eshwarappa (R) with Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj S Bommai (L) at a press conference in Bengaluru, Karnataka. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

A senior legislator from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the southern state of Karnataka has stoked a controversy by making a remark on ‘azaan’, a call to prayer by Muslims from mosques five times a day.

KS Eshwarappa, a former deputy chief minister of the state who also held other key portfolios in the past, recently said in Mangaluru, the coastal town in south-western Karnataka, that ‘azaan’ is a headache for him and it would end soon as there is a judgment from the Supreme Court of India.

Addressing a public gathering, the 74-year-old Eshwarappa said, “Wherever I go, this (azaan) is a headache for me. No doubt this will end soon as there is an SC judgment.”

He then went on to mock asking whether ‘Allah’ (the name by which Muslims address the god) is deaf and they needed to scream over a microphone to address him.

“PM Modi asked us to respect all religions, but I must ask, can Allah hear only if you scream on a microphone? Hindus also pray in temples. We have more faith than them & it’s Bharat mata who protects religions. But if you say that Allah listens only if you pray using a microphone, I must question if He’s deaf. This issue must be resolved,” the BJP veteran said.

Karnataka is currently preparing for assembly elections due in another few months. The state has been ruled by the BJP since 2018 and even prime minister Modi has been making frequent visits to the state to inaugurate development projects.

In 2005, the apex court of India banned the use of loudspeakers and music systems between 10 pm and 6 am (except in times of public emergencies) in the public, citing adverse effects of noise pollution on the health of people living in such areas.

There have also been public interest litigations filed in the high courts of various states in recent times seeking a ban on the use of loudspeakers in mosques.

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