After the campaign against halal meat sold by Muslim traders, Hindutva organisations have launched a campaign against azan, the call for prayer, from mosques. The campaign and the “silence” of the Karnataka Government on back-to-back campaigns has been criticised by the Opposition parties.
Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik and his associates warned the Government to remove mikes from mosque which, they said, are causing noise pollution. They threatened to intensify protests if the Government failed to act. The campaign would include playing bhajans at temples everyday at 5 a.m. to “counter” the azan.
Reacting to this, City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said that all the places of worship are required to strictly follow the directions of the High Court on noise pollution under Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules enacted in 2000.
Any violations attracts contempt proceedings and legal action. He further said that action will also be taken against temple management under violation and contempt.
Reacting to the campaign, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy accused Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai of remaining silent on these issues.
“Muslims have been using loudspeakers for azan. Why are Hindutva organisations getting disturbed suddenly now?” he asked. “The Chief Minister is not responding to anything. He has remained silent as if nothing has happened.”
He said, “Over the last one-and-a-half months, many efforts have been made to disturb peace and harmony in the State. This strategy of raising communally sensitive issues to break the bond between communities will boomerang. This is not Uttar Pradesh. The BJP cannot win 2023 elections based on these issues here.”
Accusing the RSS of remote controlling the BJP Government in Karnataka, the former Chief Minister said that this Government is not working independently. “The CM wants to appease the Sangh Parivar and he does not have independence.”
Blaming the Congress for the current situation in the state, Mr. Kumaraswamy said, “Congress readied the slow poison by following soft Hindutva.” He said that the party was soft-peddling these issues “because they are scared of losing Hindu votes.”
The former Chief Minister said that though he formed his first government with the BJP, he did not allow any such communal issues to flare up during that period.
KPCC working president and MLA Ramalinga Reddy, meanwhile, said that with the aim of diverting the attention from real issues such as inflation and unemployment, Hindutva outfits, with the support of the State Government, have been raising communal issues in the State.
At a press conference here on Monday, Mr. Reddy said the Supreme Court delivered a ruling on loudspeakers in mosques and the State Environment and Pollution Control Board has issued guidelines on level of noise during the day and the night. The BJP Governments at the Centre and the State have been raking up these communally sensitive issues to hide real problems, he said.
Mr. Reddy pointed out that the BJP Government had prepared the BBMP budget without consultation with MLAs of the city. More than ₹6,000 crore bills of contractors were pending and several works costing more than ₹ 14,000 crore was going on in the city, he said, citing issues not getting due attention.