No personal enmity with Sonu Nigam: Kolkata cleric

Kolkata: City-based cleric Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, who stirred a hornet's nest by announcing a Rs 10-lakh bounty for anyone shaving Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam's head, on Thursday said that he has "no personal enmity" with the singer.

However, Quaderi stuck to his demand of an "unconditional public apology" from Nigam for his statements on "Azaan".

"I want to clarify that I do not have any personal enmity with Sonu Nigam. I reacted because he insulted Islam by tweeting against the tradition of 'Azaan'. He should tender unconditional apology to the people of the nation for his degrading statements and finish the matter here," Quaderi said.

Quaderi had on April 18 announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh to anyone who shaves off the singer's head and garlands him with footwear.

Sonu Nigam took up the challenge of tonsuring his head, calling a Muslim barber to do the job.

Terming Nigam's comments as "unconstitutional", the Quaderi claimed that the singer might have shaved his head for "personal reasons" which are "none of his concern".

"I can assure you that Nigam did not shave his head to accept my challenge. Had he done that, he would have followed my other two clauses as well. His comments were unconstitutional as he talked against religious amity by targeting the Azaan," the Vice-President of West Bengal minority United Council claimed.

"Nigam should be careful about his statements in the future and should not degrade any religion," he said, insisting the challenges announced and the related comments on Nigam were his personal opinion and not a "fatwa".

"I don't think my statements are unconstitutional. Whatever I have said, I said for the love of my religion," he added.

It all started on Monday when Nigam lashed out at "forced religiousness" in India after being woken up by the Azaan from a mosque near his home. He later clarified that he was not against any one religion.