Azaan issue: Police start issuing advisories, security tightened in and around religious places

Police have started issuing notices to religious places for defying the High Court (HC) noise pollution order.

Following the campaign against azaan by Hindu activists, Kamal Pant, Bangalore City Police Commissioner, ordered the Jurisdictional Police to take legal action against violators and ensure the law and order.

“As part of the awareness campaign, several mics have been seized in the past from religious places for defying the court order and the police have reserved cases in the appropriate sections. The reader will now continue to monitor the prescribed decibel levels and action will be taken against violators,” Pant said.

According to law enforcement sources, notices have also been issued to all relevant parties by the pollution control office. However, when contacted, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) officials declined to acknowledge the notices or comment on the matter.

Under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000, the use of loudspeakers/public address systems is restricted ‘except after obtaining written permission from the authority’.

It is not permitted at night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. except in areas closed for indoor communication – auditoriums, conference rooms, community halls and banquet halls.

“The state government may submit conditions necessary to reduce noise pollution, permit the use of loudspeakers or public address systems during nighttime hours (between 10:00 p.m. and midnight during the day or during any festive occasion cultural or religious event of a limited duration not exceeding 15 days in total during a calendar year,” the rules add.

It can be recalled that six months ago, the police in the southern division launched a special campaign and seized microphones, reserved boxes and issued notices to mosques, temples and other places of worship for using loudspeakers. early in the morning, causing trouble.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened in and around religious places, including mosques and temples in and around the city, following Hindu activists who launched a campaign against azaan – the call for prayer. Police have been deployed to all places of worship to ensure that the CH order on noise pollution is not breached.

The police, at the jurisdictional level, held peace meetings with the religious leaders of the two communities to inform them of the HC order.

However, Sri Ram Sene leader Pramod Muthalik warned the government to remove microphones from all mosques or else he claimed the protest would escalate. Members of Hindu outfits plan to sing bhajans at temples in the early morning to counter the morning azaan.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the Karnataka government was implementing the High Court order regulating the decibel level of loudspeakers in mosques.

“The High Court order is not enforced by force. Everything should be done by arranging meetings with organizations … police stations at the district level,” he said.

“You all know… all these problems are old. The prescriptions were issued in 2001 and 2002. We have not issued any new prescriptions. The High Court order clearly stated the decibel level to be maintained. Orders have been issued to purchase decibel meters at the district level.

The Chief Minister has stated categorically that no company or organization will be allowed to disturb the peace and harmony in Karnataka. “All people are equal in the eyes of the government,” he said.

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