Senior BJP leader and former minister KS Eshwarappa has made a controversial remark on azaan during a public gathering in Bengaluru state of Karnataka. He said, “This (azaan) is a headache for me, wherever I go I have the same problem. Does Allah hear prayers only if one screams on a microphone? Is Allah deaf? I have no doubt there will be an end to this soon as there is a Supreme Court judgement. PM Modi has asked us to respect all religions, but I must ask can Allah hear only if you scream on a microphone? This issue must be resolved soon.” As soon as the azaan started, a visibly irked Eshwarappa began ranting against loudspeakers being used for the call to prayers. Eshwarappa also said, “I never told that we do not need Muslim votes. Our party needs vote of Muslims who are nationalists only.” Eshwarappa, who has also served as the state’s Deputy Chief Minister, is no stranger to controversies. He earlier sparked a row when he referred to 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan as a “Muslim gunda (goon)”. Later, he defended his controversial “Allah is deaf” remark, saying that he was just expressing what “a common man” felt about sounding the Islamic call to prayer through loudspeakers. Last year, Karnataka witnessed protests over the hijab, while some right-wing groups have also raised an objection over ‘halal’ meat. The Allahabad High Court in May 2022 ruled that delivering the Azaan on loudspeakers is not a fundamental right. The court further said that although Azaan is an integral part of Islam, it stated that delivering it through loudspeakers is not a part of the religion. In January 2023, Haridwar district administration fined seven mosques for causing noise pollution. Human rights Attorney Meetali Jain brought up the extent of hate speech and misinformation in India “of a genocidal character, very much akin” to what has been seen in Myanmar and Ethiopia. Two Indian journalists – Alishan Jafri and Kaushik Raj talked about how anti-Muslim violence had only been rising ever since Narendra Modi government came into power. What’s more, members of ruling party and ministers at the state and Central level have issued and supported such calls for genocide, without facing action. Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale University and the author of How Fascism Works, compared what is happening in India now to Nazi Germany. “The early thinkers of the RSS made explicit suggestions that India should follow the Nazi’s model.”


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