Bengaluru Police issued notifications to 301 mosques, temples, churches, and other institutions on Thursday to operate their loudspeakers within allowed decibel levels, said Kamal pant, Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru, on Thursday.
59 notifications have been sent to pubs, taverns, and restaurants around the city, 12 to industries, 83 to temples, 22 to churches, and 125 to mosques. The action comes after some right-wing protestors asked that loudspeakers be turned off because they were breaching noise pollution regulations. They also met with commissioners and other police officers from around the state in this respect.
Maulana Maqsood Imran Rashidi (Imam Jamia Masjid City Market) told ANI that they received a notification from the police department and that they will abide with the order, which was issued in accordance with Supreme Court directives about loudspeaker decibels.
“Many mosques have received the notice. We have been told to maintain the sound level. They have said that the directions issued by the Supreme Court need to be adhered to and if the orders are not followed then action will be initiated,” the Imam said.
He further said that they have started fitting the device which ensures that the sound does not cross the permissible level and no one is disturbed.
“We will follow all the orders which have been given as per the directions of the Supreme Court related to the decibels of the loudspeaker. Temples have also received the notice in this regard. If we all follow the rules then there will be no problem,” he added.
The Imam urged the government to take strict action against those who try to disturb the peace and create violence.
“We should keep discrimination aside and should work together for the development of the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai accused the Congress of engaging in vote bank politics over the loudspeaker issue on Tuesday, claiming that the Congress’ vote bank politics is to blame for all of the difficulties.
He went on to say that a High Court order of decibel metres had been issued on it as well, and that it applies to all loudspeakers, not only Azaan.
“They are really hypocrites. Who started the Hijab issue and why did they raise their voice against the people who started the hijab and who violated the Court orders, why they were silent then? Congress vote bank politics is creating all these problems and we are solving them one by one. This is the order of the High Court order, nothing is done through force. It is not only for Azaan but for all loudspeakers,” said Bommai slamming the Congress for politicising the issues.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, on the other hand, has accused the governing BJP of exploiting society in order to gain political advantage in the approaching Assembly elections, claiming that the debate over mosque loudspeakers will backfire on the Bommai administration in the state polls.
Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra had already directed state police to investigate the matter, take them into confidence, and carry out the High Court’s ruling.
The order is not only for Azaan but for buses also there are some rules and noise had to be specific decibels. It is for illegal loudspeakers who are violating pollution rules. There are court orders as well. That has to be implemented. We have instructed police officials to look into it and take them into coincidence. There is no opportunity to create a law and order situation. It’s for each and everyone not only for mosques. The High court orders have to be followed,” he said.
Dr. K Sudhakar, the state’s health minister, stated that the Supreme Court’s decibel level is relevant to all citizens, not only those of a particular faith.
“The Supreme Court had already settled the matter a few years ago. There is already a settled law for it. So as part of maintaining and minimizing the sound pollution, a decibel level has been set and it is not applicable to one religion. The law applies to each and every citizen,” said Sudhakar.
The Minister also emphasised the need of not politicising everything and of respecting the opinions and decisions of the law of the nation.
State Revenue Minister R Ashok responded to Siddaramaiah’s comments by saying that his charges are unfounded and that neither the administration nor the Chief Minister are involved in such matters.
“This is unfortunate, a man like Siddaramaiah is blaming the Chief Minister who is not involved in such things. Neither the government nor the chief minister is involved in such things. A baseless thing has been said by Siddaramaiah,” Ashok said.
He also advised Siddaramaiah to keep his dignity by acting and speaking in a dignified manner.
“He knows that who is responsible for all such things. Politicians always see the votes. This is only a desperate attempt by Siddaramaiah,” he added. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had also said that the Maharashtra Home Minister has also given the notice to maintain the decibel level for Azaan.
The debate sparked after the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray asked the state government to remove the loudspeakers from mosques and warned of “putting loudspeakers in front of the mosques and play Hanuman Chalisa”.
“I am not against prayers, you can pray at your home, but the government should take a decision on removing mosque loudspeakers. I am warning now… Remove loudspeakers or else will put loudspeakers in front of the mosque and play Hanuman Chalisa.”
Thackeray further urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raid mosques in Mumbai’s Muslim districts, claiming that the people who live there are “Pakistani supporters.”
“I appeal to PM Modi to raid the Madarasas at the Muslim shanties. Pakistani supporters are residing in these shanties. Mumbai Police knows what’s happening there…Our MLAs using them for vote-bank, such people don’t even have Aadhar Card, but the MLAs get them made,” he said.
According to the Supreme Court ruling, noise levels in the industrial area are permitted to be 75 decibels during the day and 70 decibels at night, while noise levels in the commercial sector are allowed to be 65 decibels during the day and 55 decibels at night. In residential zones, the noise level is 55 decibels during the day and 45 dB at night.
In the silent zone, noise levels are limited to 50 decibels during the day and 40 dB at night.