The cleric from Bengal, who stirred nationwide controversy by announcing a reward of Rs 10 lakh for anyone who can shave Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam’s head for making ‘derogatory’ remarks against azaan, has complained to the police alleging he has received death threats for speaking up against the singer.
According to the complaint lodged with the office-in-charge of Entally police station just after 2 pm on April 22, an sms landed on Quaderi’s cell phone that threatened to pump bullets into his body and those of his family members should he dare to utter a word against Nigam.
The sms was allegedly composed in Hindi and Quaderi got it on Saturday afternoon when he was at his in law’s place in Entally.
“How did you dare to speak against Sonu Nigam who is the pride of Hindustan? Now listen, if you dare to say another word against him I will pump bullets inside you and the members of your family. None can save you,” read the purported sms.
“In view of such threat, not only my wife and minor son , my In Laws too are also scared of it and therefore request you to kindly order for a thorough investigation and bring the culprit to justice,” wrote Quaderi in the complaint.
Significantly, Quaderi introduces himself as the 35th descendant of the Prophet of Islam, something that he also mentioned in the police complaint.
Quaderi is a “pir sahab” of a little-known Khanka Sharif at Bagnan in West Bengal’s Howrah district.
His offer of Rs 10 lakh reward came hours after Nigam tweeted against the Islamic call for prayer, azaan, and called the custom “forced religiousness”. The bounty was widely criticised and ridiculed, especially after Nigam got his head shaved and challenged Quaderi to pay up. But the cleric refused to pay up and argued that he put two other conditions -- wearing a garland of old, torn shoes and touring the country wearing it -- in order to be eligible for the bounty.
Interestingly, one of the religious leaders Quaderi seeks inspiration from is Bengal’s ‘Fatwa Imam’ Noor-ur-Rehman Barkati, who has issued fatwa against a number of personalities including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen.
Responding to how Quaderi wriggled out of his promise, Nasrin tweeted on Thursday, “Kolkata Imam once issued fatwa whoever blackens my face will get Rs 50,000. A friend blackened my face. But Imam didn’t give money. Imams r liars.” The fatwa she was referring to was issued in 2006.
Quaderi also holds the position of vice-president of West Bengal United Minority Council.