Karnataka BJP MLA Eshwarappa asks if Allah ‘is deaf’, triggers row

Former Karnataka minister K S Eshwarappa has triggered a row after he asked whether Allah “was deaf” if Muslims had to recite his name through the microphone every day.

During his speech at the BJP’s ongoing Vijay Sankalpa Yatra on Sunday, azaan – the Islamic call for prayer – was heard in the background. On hearing it, the Shivamogga MLA said the azaan was a headache for him wherever he went. “There is a Supreme Court judge. Today or tomorrow, this (practice of calling azaan over mics) will definitely end,” Eshwarappa said, attracting cheers from party supporters at the rally.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi says that we should respect every religion, the BJP MLA said, asking whether “Allah could only hear if you scream on the microphone?”

“We also pray at temples. We chant shlokas and the women sing bhajans… In the entire world, the only country protecting dharma is Bharat Mata. But if they have to scream loudly through the mic, then we have to say he (Allah) is deaf. There is no need (for azaan). So, I opine that this issue should be addressed at the earliest,” he said.

The minister has previously grabbed headlines for his communal and provocative statements. During the hijab row that rocked Karnataka, Eshwarappa – who was the rural development minister then – said the saffron flag would replace the Tricolour as India’s flag in the coming years.

In February last year, Eshwarappa had blamed ‘Muslim goons’ for the murder of a Hindu activist in his constituency. He also led a procession to perform the last rites of the activist and was accused of triggering riots in the process.

He was forced to step down as minister in April last year after Santosh Patil, a contractor, named the BJP leader in his suicide note. Patil had accused Eshwarappa of demanding 40 per cent commission to clear pending bills for works worth Rs 4 crore. A police investigation was carried out and the minister was given a clean chit in the case.