Muslim intellectuals urge mosques in Pune to strictly adhere to SC norms on loudspeakers for Azan

The issue of Azan given on loudspeakers gained traction after MNS chief Raj Thackeray, during a recent visit to Pune, gave an ultimatum for removal of loudspeakers in all mosques in the city by May 3

Muslim intellectuals urge mosques in Pune to strictly adhere to SC norms on loudspeakers for Azan

Nadeem Inamdar

Prominent intellectuals, lawyers, social workers, educationists, elected representatives, academicians, elders and some religious scholars on Thursday appealed to the Muslim community in Pune to abide by Supreme Court guidelines related to playing of loudspeakers at religious places.

The meeting, which took place at Azam Campus, saw the participating members appealing to all mosque trustees and managements to ensure that they have the necessary permission in place from the concerned district magistrates to use loudspeakers for Azan, the Islamic call to prayer.

According to available data, Pune has around 450 mosques out of which ninety percent had valid permission from the government to use loudspeakers.

An order issued by Supreme Court in July 2005 had banned the use of loudspeakers and music systems in public places between 10 PM and 6 AM (except in cases of public emergencies), citing the serious effects of noise pollution on the health of residents who lived in such areas.

Educationist P A Inamdar, who presided over the meeting, said “If Azan is to be given in a mosque and permission has expired, then get the permission immediately from the district collector’s office. We will provide all the support and necessary guidance. Mosque mutawallis are to be guided and legal support has been extended. In case temple trustees want to hold meetings on this issue, they too can come and conduct their meetings and will be guided for the same. No law permits for removal of loudspeakers from any religious place,” he said.

Inamdar explained that the community elders have already discussed the issue with mosque managements about lowering the loudspeakers’ decibels, which has received a positive response

“Also Azan is given five times a day in a matter of two to three minutes. After 10 PM, loudspeakers are not allowed. Loudspeakers are allowed only between 6 AM to 10 PM. The SC law over the issue is final and has to be followed in its letter and spirit,” he said.

Maulana Mohammad Hasan from Shaheen Academy said: “There is a provision that the three-minute time of Azan delivery too can be reduced by half. We also offer to train all the muezzins (those who proclaim the call to prayer) in this specific skill,” he said.

The issue of Azan given on loudspeakers has been gaining traction ever since MNS chief Raj Thackeray, during a recent visit to Pune, gave an ultimatum for the removal of loudspeakers in all mosques by May 3.

Advocate Ayub Shaikh urged the Muslim community to strictly adhere to the SC’s guidelines and get the permission papers readied in case of expiry. “We request the Muslim community to remain peaceful despite all the provocation as it is being done to achieve political ends. As far as loudspeakers are concerned, the mosques’ managements have been requested to keep the Azan voice at the lowest level possible as a mark of respect and building of stronger inter-faith harmony,” he said.

Social activist Anjum Inamdar said, “Raj Thackeray is giving an ultimatum and trying to create an atmosphere of fear and insecurity in the state of Maharashtra. The home department must take strict legal action against the MNS chief for his inflammatory speech. We demand strict action against him for trying to drive a wedge between two communities,” he said.

It may be recalled that the Muslims in Pune have been demanding a complete ban on playing of DJ music during Eid-e-Milad processions. They have petitioned the state home department and Pune Police Commissioner’s office demanding a five-year ban on playing of loud DJ music during Eid-e-Milad celebrations.

Incidentally, one of Thackeray's own party corporators in Pune, Vasant More, recently refused to abide by his orders to recite Hanuman Chalisa before mosques, saying that he wanted the social fabric of his electorate to remain intact. The NCP and Muslim community had also strongly protested against Thackeray during a morcha, describing his remarks as ‘anti-human’ and against the constitutional spirit.

A Pune-based lawyer has petitioned CM Udhhav Thackeray seeking directions to the police to lodge an FIR against the MNS leader

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