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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Kanpur, UP: Campaign to stop noise from mosque loudspeakers

Hindu groups have launched a campaign to demand an end to mosque loudpseakers dotted across the city, especially in mixed-population areas. The campaign is being led by the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal (RBD), an organisation associated with the AHP (Antarashtriya Hindu Parishad) launched by Sri Praveen Togadia after he resigned from VHP.

The RBD plans to create more awareness and support for the issue by gathering signatures of one lakh people in Kanpur. They plan to hand over a memorandum to the President with one lakh signed postcards. The campaign will focus on stopping the loud voice emanating from mosque loudspeakers in the mixed population areas of Kanpur.

General Secretary of RBD’s state unit, Ramji Tripathi, said that even after orders of the courts, loudspeakers in mosques are being used which spreads noise pollution. He said that Muslim prayers should be read without a loudspeaker which will help everyone. Ramji said that from 22 February onwards, people will be made aware by conducting the signature campaign in different areas of the city.

A Kanpur-based lawyer also tweeted that she is initiating legal proceedings to remove loudspeakers from mosques –

However, a Muslim cleric said that the campaign is ‘unnecessary’ and is being done to divert people’s attention and benefit a particular party. He also said that the Constitution gives them the ‘right to play’ Azaan at the mosque, and ‘no one can stop it’. But he did not clarify if that right to pray extends to the right to blast Muslim prayers from loudspeakers 5 times a day, 365 days a year, starting pre-dawn?

Ramji Tripathi is spot on – in May last year, the Allahabad High Court passed an order stating that the call to azaan was to be carried out only by the human voice and no loudspeaker or amplifying device was to be used for the purpose. But does our State have the will and capacity to act on these rulings? In response to an RTI query on why an October 2014 Bombay High court order against use of illegal loudspeakers in mosques wasn’t being implemented, the Mumbai Police said it was unable to take action as it could lead to “law and order problems.”

Forget acting against mosques loudspeakers breaking the law, Mumbai Police under directions of the MVA government actually issued a notice to the mother of Karishma Bhosale, a girl who had merely requested the mosque next to her house to lower the volume as it was disturbing her studies, threatening further action if she ‘disrupts public order’.  The same Mumbai Police never forgets to warn Hindus against ‘noise pollution’ during Ganesh Chaturthi!

When some prominent celebrities like Sonu Nigam have complained about the blaring call to prayers from mosque loudspeakers, they have been abused & shouted down and even told to ‘move to other neighborhoods’ by left-liberals. However, whenever there is a complaint against temple loudspeakers, our state is quick to intervene – past ‘secular’ regimes in UP have clamped down on temple loudspeakers, but allowed mosques to blare their prayers with impunity. In one case from Moradabad, UP, the then SP Government had pulled down loudspeakers from a Hindu Dalit temple as it was located in a ‘Muslim-majority area.’

The saga of Hindus being bullied when they play their aarti once or twice a day from loudspeakers is seen across the country –  read this report about how a temple was stopped from carrying out evening aarti (worship by singing devotional songs) by local Muslims in Sundar Nagari area of the national capital. Does anyone even remember the name of 68-year-old temple priest Devunoor Satyanarayana beaten to death in Warangal, Telangana for ‘loud’ prayers by an Imam (cleric) of a Masjid, Syed Natiq Hussaini?

One hopes that the activists taking up this task in Kanpur see success, and the same is repeated across the country.

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