Sonu Nigam
Indian singer Sonu Nigam invited controversy by calling the early morning azaan as 'forced religiousness' Reuters

Indian singing sensation Sonu Nigam has stood by his comments against the use of loudspeakers and said they "are not a religious necessity". On Monday (17 April), the 43-year-old sparked a nationwide wide debate after posting a series of tweets stating that the loudspeakers used for the Islamic call to prayer early in the morning was "forced religiousness".

Angered by Nigam's remarks, a cleric from the eastern Indian state of West Bengal issued a fatwa against him. The vice-president of the West Bengal Minority United Council promised to pay Rs1m (£12,060) to anyone who would shave the singer's head, put on a garland of shoes around his neck and parade him around the country.

The extreme response by Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi further fuelled the controversy and the 43-year-old singer went completely bald and asked the cleric to pay the reward to the person who shaved his head. "Today [19 April] at 2 pm Aalim will come to my place and shave my head. Keep your 10 lakh ready, maulavi [muezzin]," Nigam tweeted.

Responding to the singer, the cleric told ANI: "Sonu Nigam has not done all the things I asked for, two out of the three things remain unfulfilled. I will give a reward of Rs 10 lakh [Rs1m], only when he does rest two, a garland of old torn shoes and tour around the country."

However, Twitter users trolled the cleric and hailed the singer's act and called him a true inspiration.

Check out the tweets below:

On 20 April, the singer said at a press conference, "I've spoken about the nuisance caused by loudspeakers in the past and I stick to my stand. Loudspeakers are not a religious necessity. I have the same thing to say about temples and gurdwaras. There are Hindu festivals when people blast film music on the streets and make a lot of noise. Isn't that dadagiri [hooliganism] too? I'm talking about a social issue. Not a religious one."

He also slammed the cleric for issuing the controversial fatwa and said: "See, this is the gundagardi [hooliganism] that I was talking about. But I'm not trying to stage an agitation or challenge the maulvi [muezzin]. It's about baring and fighting fanaticism peacefully."