Mosque lowers loudspeaker volume after Allahabad varsity V-C seeks ban on azaan

Updated on Mar 17, 2021 05:54 PM IST

Kaleem-ur-Rehman, the caretaker of the Lal Masjid, said after police informed them about the problem, the committee immediately took steps to address the issue

Allahabad University vice-chancellor Sangita Srivastava. (Sourced)
Allahabad University vice-chancellor Sangita Srivastava. (Sourced)

The management committee of a mosque near Allahabad University on Wednesday changed the direction of one of its two loudspeakers and reduced their volume. The move came after Sangita Srivastava, the university vice-chancellor, wrote a letter to officials seeking a ban on Muslim calls for prayer via loudspeakers from the mosque saying it disturbs her sleep in the morning.

Kaleem-ur-Rehman, the caretaker of the Lal Masjid, said after police informed them about the problem, the committee immediately took steps to address the issue. “The volume of the system, which was already a decibel less than the norm set by the [Allahabad high] court, has been further reduced by half and direction of one of the loudspeakers has also been changed, so that it points away from the vice chancellor’s home,” he said.

Rehman said had she spoken to the members of the management committee, they would have ensured that there was no inconvenience to anyone living near the mosque..

Earlier in her letter dated March 3 to district magistrate Bhanu Chandra Goswami complaining about noise pollution, Srivastava said every day at around 5.30 am, her sleep gets disturbed due to the call from the mosque. Copies of the letter were also marked to other top officials.

“The sleep so disturbed does not resume even after trying very hard. This also results in a headache throughout the day, causing losses in work hours,” said the letter, a copy of which HT has seen.

The letter went viral on social media.

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Srivastava attached a copy of the Allahabad high court’s May 2020 judgement on azaan, or the call for prayer. The court held that azaan may be an essential part of Islam, but its amplification cannot be said to be integral to the religion, warranting protection of the fundamental right enshrined under Article 25 of the Constitution, which is even otherwise subject to public order, morality or health, and other provisions. Thus, under no circumstances, sound amplifying devices can be permitted to be used between 10pm and 6am, the order said.

Goswami said the letter was received and necessary action as per the law would be taken.

Prayagraj’s senior police superintendent Sarvashresth Tripathi said orders have been issued for a probe in light of the complaint.

Former Allahabad University Students’ Union vice-president Akhilesh Yadav said the concept of communal harmony lies at India’s core and unfortunately speaking against religions has become fashionable. He demanded strict action against Srivastava.

The call for prayers is made five times a day. Their timings wary depending on sunrise and sunset and each call does not last more than three minutes.


    Amitabh Maitra is an assistant editor with Hindustan Times in Lucknow. He has been with HT in Lucknow since 1997.

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