Karnataka: Hindutva Group Begins Anti-Loudspeaker Protest, Police Detain Several Members

Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik had earlier threatened that the group's members would play the Hanuman Chalisa and devotional songs at temples to drown out the morning azaan played over loudspeakers.

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New Delhi: After clothing, food and business, Karnataka’s Hindutva brigade has now followed Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra and focused on loudspeakers.

Members of the Hindutva outfit Sri Ram Sene gathered temples across the state early on Monday, May 9, to play devotional songs over loudspeakers playing the azaan, the Islamic call to prayer. These demonstrations took place in Bengaluru, Hubballi, Belagavi, Mysuru, Chikkamagaluru, Yadgir, Mandya and Kolar, according to PTI.

Members of the outfit who had gathered at a temple in Bengaluru’s Shantinagar to begin the early morning were arrested, NDTV has reported. 

Across the state, police officers also took Sri Ram Sene members into preventive custody and attempted to stop members of the group from entering temples to play the Hanuman Chalisa.

A day ago, The News Minute reported, Sene chief Pramod Muthalik had threatened such protests against the Karnataka government’s “failure to take action against loudspeakers installed at mosques.”

Muthalik allegedly said that the Sri Ram Sene would play the Hanuman Chalisa and other devotional songs at 5 am across 1,000 temples in the state. This would be in response to mosques being allowed to use loudspeakers mounted atop the buildings before 6 am, he said.

“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.

Muthalik claimed that the sound of azaan is not being reduced in accordance with permissible limits. He said, “Our fight has only begun today. If 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.”

Muthalik also, according to the report, asked the Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai to display the “guts” shown by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath. In Uttar Pradesh, authorities have removed nearly 54,000 loudspeakers from religious institutions.

Meanwhile, a section of Congress’s Muslim leaders met CM Bommai on the issue. Congress’s deputy leader in the assembly U.T. Khader said 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.

Bommai said he has given directions regarding the implementation of the Supreme Court order on use of loudspeakers.

“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.

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.

(With PTI inputs)