As some Hindu groups in Karnataka launched a campaign against the alleged unauthorised use of loudspeakers in mosques in the state on Monday, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai directed strict implementation of the Supreme Court orders regarding their use as a section of Congress’ Muslim leaders met him over the issue. Ahead of his meeting with top police, home and law department officials here, Bommai said he has given directions regarding the implementation of the SC order on use of loudspeakers.
Earlier in the day, Hanuman Chalisa, Suprabhata, Omkara and devotional songs were played at temples in different parts of the state as part of a campaign by Hindu groups, including Sri Rama Sene, alleging failure on part of the government to take action against loudspeakers installed at mosques. Recorded versions or bhajans being recited by those present at the temples were played out at around 5 am to counter the morning azaan being recited on the loudspeakers.
There were reports of incidents at temples in various places including Bengaluru, Hubballi, Belagavi, Mysuru, Chikkamagaluru, Yadgir, Mandya and Kolar among other places. At places including in Bengaluru, some Hindu activists were detained by the police. “Regarding the azaan issue, there are Supreme Court orders which are applicable to everyone, it has to be implemented in a very cordial atmosphere. We have observed what has happened in other states,” Bommai said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, “There are also High Court orders regarding how to implement the Supreme Court orders. I have instructed the officials to strictly implement the orders. I have a meeting with senior officials, and will once again give clear instructions to them.” Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik, who participated in early morning prayers at Anjaneya temple in Mysuru, said their campaign is against the government and the “adamant” Muslim community. “For the last one year, we have continuously been warning about the issues caused by the loudspeakers, disturbance to society, students and patients. We had also told Muslims, but nothing changed, no action was taken other than issuing notices. It was a drama. Even today, mosques have not stopped playing loudspeakers at 5 am,” he said.
Stating that the sound of azaan during the other four times of the day is not being reduced in accordance with permissible limits, he said, “Our fight has only begun today. If still no action is taken, we will file a contempt petition in the High Court as it violates Supreme Court orders…This is not Taliban rule, Pakistan or Afghanistan. This is India, there is a constitution and rule of law here.” Sri Rama Sene had earlier warned that it will counter morning azaan with Hanuman Chalisa or Suprabhat or Omkara and devotional songs on May 9 if the government did not take action against loudspeakers installed at mosques. Meanwhile, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said strict action will be taken in accordance with the court orders to control any activities that cause noise pollution.
“Everyone should abide by the court orders,” he said in a statement adding that the government will not hesitate to take strict action against those taking law into their hands. Earlier, Karnataka Congress’ Muslim leaders met the Chief Minister and asked him to take necessary steps and precautionary measures to maintain peace and tranquility in the society.
Congress’ deputy leader in the Assembly U T Khader, who led the delegation to meet the chief minister, maintained that the noise pollution issue should not be linked to any religion or community, and the government should formulate rules to implement the court orders, which everyone should abide by. Congress legislators N A Haris, Naseer Ahmed and Rajya Sabha member Syed Naseer Hussain were part of the delegation.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the people want peace, tranquility and a cordial atmosphere to prevail in the society, but some forces are trying to disturb peace on certain issues, at such a situation the government should take steps to maintain peace and precautionary measures should be taken in this regard. This is what we have discussed,” Khader said. Speaking to reporters after meeting Bommai, he said the Chief Minister has assured that the government was taking all the required measures to maintain peace and tranquility.
“Certain communal forces are raising certain issues and are trying to cause disturbance, but peace is important for us and it is the duty of the government to establish. We have requested the government to do it. The Chief Minister has agreed that it is the government’s duty and let there be no doubts about it,” he added. Noting that the government should take action against organisations that are disturbing peace and inciting communal hatred through social media and other means, Khader said, regarding the noise pollution, let the government implement the court orders and formulate rules, everyone will and should abide by it.
In response to a question of violations of court orders regarding loudspeakers, he said the government should say if there are violations and see to it that if there are any, they are rectified. Noting that the noise pollution issue should not be associated with any community, religion or a party, the Congress leader not willing to react to Sri Rama Sene’s campaign said, “The government will take care of it.” .