A police directive ordered curbs on playing of bhajans or devotional Hindu songs on loudspeaker during azaan in the radius of 100 meteres from mosques.
NEW DELHI– While communal tensions over azaan are soaring elsewhere in the state in the wake of MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s clarion call to play hanuman chalisa, police in Maharashtra’s Nashik has issued a directive in favour of the Muslim call for prayers.
The police directive ordered curbs on playing of bhajans or devotional Hindu songs on loudspeaker during azaan in the radius of 100 meteres from mosques. Deepak Pandey, the city’s police commissioner, also directed all religious places to seek police permission for use of loudspeakers by May 3 to avoid legal action for violation of the rules.
The directive was issued following Raj Thackeray’s ultimatum to Muslims to either abandon loudspeakers altogether for azaan or face Hanuman Chalisa being played in front of mosques as a repercussion after May 3. He said if Muslims can be allowed to relay Azaan on loudspeakers, why Hindus can’t play Hanuman Chalisa.
The police order reads: “Every church, temple, gurudwara and mosque will have to file an application at Nashik police commissionerate seeking permissions to use loudspeakers. This order will come into effect from 3 May 2022.”
The Indian Express quoted Pandey as saying, “Giving azaan is identified as a customary right and if anyone feels that this right is coming in the way of legal right that person is requested to appeal in court and if the court approves, then present the order copy before the police after which necessary changes shall be made.”
For now, the order has come from the Nashik Police. But reports said the Maharashtra Government, a coalition of Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP, is mulling relying on provisions of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000 to overcome the controversy stoked by the Opposition on use of loudspeakers in mosques.
The government this way is going to counter the allegations of appeasement of the minority community. Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) will also be meet police commissioners and district superintendents from across the state on Tuesday to discuss the strategy to be adopted in the face of threats of possible violence in the state, The Indian Express report added.
Meanwhile, state Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil, on Monday, called on Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to discuss the issue. After the meeting, he told the media that top police officials would meet to draft guidelines on the issue.
NDTV reported that Muslims seem to be ready to comply with the government orders as the state unit of Jamiat Ulema Hind urged that mosques to take permission before using loudspeakers. “Most of the mosques in the state have taken permission from the police departments for using loudspeakers. However, I still appeal mosques in the state who have not taken permission for the use of loudspeakers in mosques for Azaan should take the permission,” Gulzar Azmi, Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind Secretary of the Maharashtra unit, told ANI.
Azmi was all praise for the Maharashtra government’s apt handling of the communally sensitive issue. He said the police in the state are also cooperative.