Mumbai: In the backdrop of a row triggered by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray over loudspeaker use for azaan, over 803 of the 1,144 mosques in Mumbai have obtained the police permission to use loudspeakers. Meanwhile, as the permissions were granted for loudspeaker use, it was noted that no speakers will be deployed into silent zones and the mosques will adhere to the Supreme Court and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) guidelines.
A senior official of the Mumbai Police said that while the police had given permission to 803 mosques for loudspeaker installation, the remaining applications are being considered and processed with due diligence. "We have made it mandatory for them to follow all noise pollution norms, including Supreme Court and MPCB guidelines. The time given to them for usage is between 6am and 10pm," added the official.
Last week, Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey had noted that the department had received 84 applications regarding the removal and deployment of loudspeakers from mosques in the city. He confirmed many applications were granted permission in accordance with noise control rules.
The Mumbai Police had already begun a crackdown on the noise pollution in the city and had asked the builders to stop the work at night time, but this practice of permission of loudspeakers even for the call of prayer is a positive development. More than 70 per cent of mosques in the metropolis have obtained permission to use loudspeakers to relay azaan, the call for prayer, the official added.
The loudspeakers row started when the MNS chief gave an ultimatum to the Maharashtra government on April 12 seeking the removal of loudspeakers from mosques by May 4, failing which, he warned, MNS workers will play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers.