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Azaan row: What Karnataka DGP Praveen Sood and Bengaluru police chief Kamal Pant say

As the Azaan row has hit Karnataka with Hindu right-wing groups claiming it to be a nuisance and demanding banning loudspeakers, the Karnataka cops are beginning to reiterate the High Court order on noise pollution. Interestingly, not just masjids, but temples, churches, pubs, lounges will have to ensure the sound coming from these places does not exceed the prescribed level.

Azaan row: What Karnataka DGP Praveen Sood and Bengaluru police chief Kamal Pant say-ycb
Bengaluru, First Published Apr 7, 2022, 7:16 PM IST

As Karnataka state is witnessing the most challenging situation with religious polarisation and the Hindu groups going hammer and tongs against Azaan, Karnataka DGP and Bengaluru Police chief have stressed that the cops are only following the HC order and it is not just limited to masjids.

After correspondence to the government and PIL in court against sound pollution, the government as well as Karnataka State Pollution Control Board took steps and framed rules to address the issue. As per the government notice, there are prescribed levels of noise permitted to an industrial area, commercial area, residential area, and silence zone.

For industrial areas, during day time, the noise decibel level has to be up to 75 dB, similarly, for commercial areas, 65 dB, for residential areas 55 dB, and the silent zone has to be at 50 dB. And during the night hours, for the industrial area, 70 dB, the commercial area 55 dB, the residential area at 45dB, and the silent zone has to be maintained at a 40 dB level.

"This (asking religious places to lower the noise) is not new, six months ago, the same exercise was done. HC has made us as respondents. It is not only for Masjids, Temples and Churches, it also applies for pubs, lounges which contribute to a lot of noise. The cases started with the Indiranagar pub row (Resident Welfare Association had filed a petition on commercialization of residential areas and noise from pubs). It is clearly laid out what is allowed and what is not between morning and evening hours. It is being reiterated as we have to comply with HC order.
Like how the speed governor order was issued to control speed limits, this order is there to control noise decibel levels," DGP Praveen Soon told Asianet Newsable.

Going a step further, Bengaluru City Police Commissioner, Kamal Pant said that the Bengaluru Police has been very active over the recent developments (Hijab, ban on vendors, Halal, and Azaan). "No untoward incidents have been allowed to occur. We are getting support from community leaders. The communities and maulanas are enforcing it (fixing amplifiers to cut sound levels). People are cooperating and things are perfectly under control," Commissioner told Asianet Newsable.

On Hindu groups asking for a ban, the Commissioner responded by telling, this (groups asking for one or the other ban) has been happening, people are there. "Our focus is to ensure law and order and that we are ensuring. We have issued notices to not just masjids, but to temples, pubs, and other establishments," Pant stressed.

On Hindu groups demanding bans on Muslim mango merchants:

Not giving much importance to such groups, Pant responded and said, "When some statements are made by a few groups, should the whole system respond?"

The Hindu groups have gone a step further and now are also demanding that Muslim craftsmen who make idols be banned and said a campaign will be launched to boycott the statue and idols made by Muslims.

A day ago, the groups had targeted the Muslim mango merchants and appealed Hindu community to ban Muslim traders from fairs. Former CM HD Kumaraswamy has lashed out at the groups saying they are causing trouble to farmers.

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