'Headache': Karnataka BJP MLA KS Eshwarappa on Azaan; triggers controversy
The political space in Karnataka is likely to heat up again after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA KS Eshwarappa made a controversial statement regarding Azaan, the Muslim community's call to prayer. Addressing a public meeting, the former Karnataka minister called Azaan a "headache" and asked "whether Allah was deaf" and needed loudspeakers. Eshwarappa also claimed Azaan would be banned by the Supreme Court soon.
Why does this story matter?
- Eshwarappa's remarks come as poll campaigning in Karnataka is in full gear ahead of the 2023 Assembly elections.
- Notably, Eshwarappa is no stranger to divisive statements. Last year, he referred to 18th-century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan as a "Muslim gunda."
- As for the Azaan comments, Eshwarappa stated he was simply expressing how "a common man" felt about loudspeakers playing the Islamic call to prayer.
Karnataka BJP MLA Eshwarappa's controversial remarks
Eshwarappa's contentious comments came when he was addressing a public gathering, and Azaan went out from a mosque nearby. "Wherever I go, this (Azaan) gives me a headache. No doubt this will end soon as there is an SC judgment. PM Modi asked us to respect all religions, but I must ask, can Allah hear only if you scream on the microphone?" he added.
All religions protected in India: Eshwarappa
"Hindu girls and women pray and chant in temples. We are also religious, but we do not use loudspeakers," Eshwarappe said, defending his comments. "India is the only country where all religions are protected," he added. Notably, the Muslim organizations of the state have demanded permission to use loudspeakers for the morning Azaan during Ramzan starting from March 22.
Watch: MLA Eshwarappa addressing meeting where he gave controversial statements
Eshwarappa not new to controversies
Eshwarappa has previously been involved in a number of controversies as well. Last year, he referred to Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan as a Muslim goon, sparking outrage. He was also forced to resign from his ministerial post last year due to the suicide of a contractor. In the suicide note, the contractor accused Eshwarappa of torturing him.
Karnataka HC dismissed plea seeking ban on Azaan on loudspeakers
As for the Azaan debate, the Karnataka High Court dismissed a petition last year seeking a ban on loudspeakers. In 2005, the Supreme Court banned the use of loudspeakers between 10:00 pm to 6:00 am, except for public emergencies. Later, in October 2005, the court said loudspeakers could be permitted to be used till midnight on festive occasions for 15 days a year.