Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam addressed a press conference for the first time since the beginning of the controversy over his tweets on the ‘forced religiousness’ of loud Azaan calls, and defended his statements saying that loud speakers are ‘gundagardi’ for him.
Following a fatwa by a West Bengal cleric announcing a reward of Rs 10 lakh to anyone who can cut off Sonu’s hair and garland him with old shoes, Sonu himself tweeted that he is getting his locks cut and for the cleric to keep Rs 10 lakh ready, adding that he will address a press conference as well.
“If anyone can shave his hair, put a garland of old torn shoes around his neck and tour him around the country, I shall personally reward that person with Rs 10 lakh,” Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, the vice-president of West Bengal United Minority Council, had said on Tuesday.
Sonu tweeted: Today at 2pm Aalim will come to my place, and shave my head. Keep your 10 lakhs ready Maulavi … And Press is welcome to participate at 2pm.
As scheduled, Sonu addressed the press and said “I’m not right-wing or left-wing. I was talking on a social topic, not a religious issue. I apologise if someone thought otherwise.”
About his tweet to chopping off his hair he said “This is no agitation, this is only to tell you that its my Muslim Brother who will cut my hair.”
“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. You should learn to understand others problem All I want to say is change the loudspeaker’s time,” he added.
“Everybody has right to speak, I thought I should talk on this issue so I did. You have right on to agree or disagree on what I say. If I have done something wrong or insulted anyone then I am sorry,” Sonu said.
“I am not against any religion, when I am talking about Loudspeakers, I did mention Temples and Gurudwaras too,” he continued.
“People have questioned why I mentioned Mohammad. My intention was not to insult the Prophet. On Twitter, you cannot always mention everything. It is also the fault of English. In Hindi, it isn’t insulting to say Shiva or Krishna,” the singer said.