Hindu groups begin campaign against loudspeaker use for azan in Karnataka
Muslims, who account for around 13% of Karnataka’s estimated 70 million population, have been at the receiving end of a series of campaigns targeting their lifestyle and livelihoods
Bengaluru: Hindu groups in Karnataka on Monday played devotional songs on loudspeakers as part of a campaign against what they called Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s inaction over the use of public address systems at mosques for the Muslim call for prayers or azan.
Groups such as Sri Rama Sene threatened to commence the campaign on Monday at 5 am in front of all mosques across the state if the state government failed to regulate the use.
Pramod Muthalik, the Sene chief who was among a group of people who gathered at Mysuru’s Hanuman temple to play Hindu devotional songs at 5 am, said they gave a warning to the government and also told Muslims to end the use of loudspeakers for azan. He added there was no change or action. “...the government gave notices [to mosques] which was an eyewash and drama...” He said the use of loudspeakers at mosques has not stopped. “They are not been lowering the volume either.” He said their campaign is against the government and “arrogant Muslims”.
“We have started our fight...if they do not buckle...we will file a contempt case in the high court against all district collectors.” Muthalik warned of dire consequences if the Muslims do not remove loudspeakers on their own.
Muslims, who account for around 13% of Karnataka’s estimated 70 million population, have been at the receiving end of a series of campaigns targeting their lifestyle and livelihoods. The state’s BJP government has drawn flak for silence over the attacks, which many have linked to the 2023 assembly elections.
In April, the attacks prompted former chief minister and BJP leader BS Yediyurappa to call for strict action against those targeting Muslims.
At least six temples banned Muslim traders during religious festivals in March. Banners were put up outside temples in Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Shivamooga districts announcing that Muslim traders will not be allowed to set up stalls in religious fairs. Earlier, a ban on hijab or headscarves triggered protests in the state. There have also been calls for boycott of halal meat.