East Singhbhum district administration will ban public amplifiers and music systems near river ghats during Chhath to make its crowd control announcements heard, a move which has incurred sharp protests from social outfits such as Shiv Shastra Sena.
Usually, loudspeakers blare devotional songs at all the 42 ghats, including those at Subernarekha, Kharkai, ponds and artificial reservoirs like that of the Surya temple in Sidhgora. Social and political outfits erect kiosks — as many as 80 — to help devotees with eatables, water and puja paraphernalia at major ghats and use public amplifier systems to play Chhath songs.
But the decibel din causes devotees to “miss public announcements made by administration for crowd control”.
According to subdivisional officer (Dhalbhum) Subodh Kumar, the decision to ban music systems was taken after consulting East Singhbhum DC Himani Pande.
“The district administration puts up its own public address systems for devotees. Officials announce know-how and safety messages. But blaring songs clash with announcements, creating confusion. We do not want this to happen this year,” said the SDO.
Social outfits said this was no music to their ears.
Shiv Shastra Sena staged a demonstration before the district collectorate on Wednesday and warned of law and order problems if the administration went ahead with the music clampdown.
“This is an infringement on Chhath rituals. Devotional songs create a religious ambience. The administration should not ban this. They can increase public address systems near the ghats and play songs interspersed with messages,” suggested Harendra Singh of Shiv Shastra Sena.
Central peace committee president Rambabu Singh agreed with the Shiv Shastra Sena’s proposal.
In reply, SDO Kumar asked devotees to sing the songs themselves.