Amid Azaan row, Karnataka CM on loudspeaker use: 'Not forced.. is a court order'

Published on Apr 05, 2022 12:59 PM IST
Azaan row: The Karnataka chief minister's comments came as neighbouring Maharashtra too witnesses an escalation in the controversy. 
Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has just one year to go before the state heads to the polls next year. (PTI) (File photo) (HT_PRINT)
Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has just one year to go before the state heads to the polls next year. (PTI) (File photo) (HT_PRINT)

Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday spoke on the use of loudspeakers amid a debate over the Azaan row that started in neighbouring Maharashtra last week. A day after Karnataka minister KS Eshwarappa said "a solution should be found to address the concerns over the use of loudspeakers in mosques in the state", the chief minister on Tuesday told reporters: "This is a high court order. It's not forced. Everything has to be done by talking and explaining to people."

He further clarified: "It is not only for azaan, it is for all loudspeakers. So, we will take a call." Last year, the high court had curbed the use of loudspeakers in religious places.

Eshwarappa on Monday was reacting to MNS chief Raj Thackeray's comments on the use of loudspeakers in mosques, which have sparked a row, when he said: “The attempts by Raj Thackeray or Sri Rama Sene against the use of loudspeakers at mosques have to be naturally done by taking the Muslim community into confidence. There have been complaints for a long time that it disturbs students and patients during morning and evening hours."

Raj Thackeray last week said he is not against any religion but his party workers “will play Hanuman Chalisa in front of mosques if the state government does not remove loudspeakers outside mosques”.  His comments fuelled a debate over Azaan, the call for prayer at mosques.  

But other Maharashtra leaders did not support his comments. "People thought it (MNS event) was a BJP event. The law of the land prevails in Maharashtra. The home minister will do everything as per the law," ruling Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Maharashtra minister Dilip Patel also took a balanced view of the situation and said that "some people were trying to create a divide in the society."

However, Eshwarappa's comments were sharper. “This is not a competition for us to play Hanuman Chalisa loudly on speakers to counter them. I have no objections to you (Muslims) offering prayer but because of your using loudspeakers, if prayers are offered at temples and churches also in a similar way, it will lead to conflict between communities."

Karnataka is already dealing with a controversy over hijabs after headscarves - worn by girls and women of Muslim community - were banned in classrooms. This had sparked a nationwide debate.

(With inputs from ANI) 

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