Hanuman Chalisa vs Azaan’ loudspeaker row intensifies in Karnataka

    Karnataka Police is on high alert after ‘Hindu’ activists launched chanting of ‘the Hanuman Chalisa against Azaan’ across the state on Monday.

    Sri Ram Sena founder Pramod Muthalik inaugurated the programme at a temple in Mysuru district at 5 a.m. He claimed that the chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa and ‘Suprabhata’ (morning) prayers were performed at more than 1,000 temples against Azaan in mosques.

    He had earlier asked Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Home Minister Araga Jnanendra to show the “guts”, shown by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath there, by taking action against unauthorised loudspeakers from religious places and setting the volume of others within permissible limits.

    The police have taken activists into custody who were all set to launch the Hanuman Chalisa chanting at a temple in Bengaluru. It has beefed up the security throughout the state as the issue could trigger communal clashes.

    Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant has also met CM Bommai at his residence in the backdrop of the controversy, to discuss the ongoing issue and its developments.

    Meanwhile, Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra has said ‘any activity causing noise pollution will face action in accordance with the court order. Everyone should follow the court orders.’

    “We won’t hesitate to take stringent action against those who take law into their hands,” he said.

    A total of 301 notices have also been served against loudspeakers till now – 59 have been given to pubs, bars and restaurants, 12 to industries, 83 to temples, 22 to churches and 125 to mosques across the city. A few notices have issued to temples in Malleswaram and other places.

    ‘Will Intensify Row’

    Muthalik has announced that activists will intensify their prayer campaign at temples in coming days.

    He had questioned the “government’s helplessness to take action against Azaan, which is against the constitution and law”.

    “Patients, students are troubled by the Azaan offered early in the morning. Congress has made Muslims to feel that they are above the law. Congress has also created fear of Muslims. Law must be upheld and no one is above law,” he claimed.

    Activists started devotional prayers and raised slogans of ‘Jai Sri Ram’, ‘Jai Hanuman’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. They started their prayers at 5 a.m. across the state and completed at 6 a.m.

    Situation in Karnataka, which was slowly coming out of the social unrest after a series of incidents following the hijab crisis, Bajrang Dal activists’ murder and Hubballi communal violence, is again getting tensed.

    “Across Karnataka we have contacted more than 1,000 temples. Temple priests, Dharmadarshis and management committees have agreed to play (Hanuman Chalisa, Suprabhata, Omkara or devotional songs) at 5 AM from tomorrow. There is a good response,” Muthalik had earlier said.

    Speaking to reporters here on Sunday, he said, there is anger against the government for not taking action against those violating Court orders regarding the use of loud speakers. Alleging some Muslims of being adamant on the issue, he further said, “we will begin our protest against it from tomorrow.”

    Accusing the government of trying to scuttle Sri Rama Sene’s protest by threatening temple committees using the police, Muthalik warned the administration, stating that their “dadagiri” will not have any impact.

    “Show your dadagiri against Muslim’s mics or loudspeakers and not against us. Keep in mind that you (BJP) are in power because of Hindu votes…we will do it peacefully and won’t create any disturbance,” he said, adding that, temple management committee will do it with the support of Sri Rama Sene workers.

    He repeatedly pointed at the action taken by the Uttar Pradesh government against the use of loudspeakers there at religious places. Nearly 54,000 unauthorised loudspeakers were removed from religious places and the volume of over 60,000 was set to permissible limits across Uttar Pradesh, as part of state-wide drive undertaken by the government there.

    Noting that as the first phase of Sri Rama Sene’s drive Hanuman Chalisa or Suprabhata or devotional songs will be played at temples at the morning 5 AM, Muthalik said, “remaining four times Azaan that Muslims perform, for that we will take up, at later stages.”

    “Why we are doing early morning first because they cannot use mics or speakers between 10 pm to 6 am according to Court, but they use it at 5 AM. So we too will violate and thereby warn the government…our fight is not against Azaan in mosques or offering prayers, but against using loudspeakers,” he said.

    Responding to a question, he said, in case the police try to stop Sri Rama Sene workers, it may lead to confrontation, “our Karyakartas will oppose it,” he had added.

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