Azaan row: Everyone should abide by law, says Basavaraj Bommai
Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday said the issue of the use of loudspeakers for azaan should be sorted out harmoniously by organising peace committee meetings.
Bommai told reporters in Gulbarga in the north of the state that instructions had already been issued based on a court order to maintain decibel levels at places of worship and police had been instructed not to allow the matter to escalate into a law-and-order problem.
“The process of holding consultations with people’s representatives is underway and everyone must follow the law,” the chief minister and BJP leader said.
Bommai’s comments came a day after the chief of the Sangh parivar outfit Sree Ram Sena, Pramod Muthalik, issued an ultimatum that the government must by May 1 stop allowing mosques to use loudspeakers for azaan. Muthalik threatened to launch a statewide agitation by playing bhajans over loudspeakers from temples five times a day in tandem with the azaan from May 9.
The Supreme Court had in 2005 ordered all states to maintain decibel levels from loudspeakers at places of worship and all public events citing the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000. The law prescribes decibel levels for the 10pm-6am and 6am-10pm windows for regular areas and hospital surroundings.
While Maulana Mohammed Maqsood Imran, the chief imam of the Juma Masjid of Bangalore, had said more than 10,000 of the 12,000 mosques in the state had complied with the court by fitting decibel-level controllers, Sangh parivar outfits have disputed the claim.
The demand for unplugging loudspeakers at mosques is part of a series of controversies that have cropped up in Karnataka over the recent months. While the hijab has been banned in educational institutions, calls have been issued to boycott halal food and Muslim vendors have not been allowed at temple festivals.