- In a circular dated March 9, the board stated, “The loudspeakers shall not be used at night, which shall mean from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.”
- The Board clarified that azaan will not be banned, but that the decision to prohibit loudspeakers during the designated period was taken to avoid noise pollution
- As per the circular, the ambient noise level around these structures has an effect on human health and psychological well-being
The Karnataka State Board of Auqaf has issued a circular instructing all mosques and dargahs (mausoleums) in the state to stop from using loudspeakers between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., stating that the ambient noise level in the vicinity of these structures has “detrimental effects on human health and psychological well-being.”
In a circular from Karnataka Waqf Board from March 9, the board announced, “Loudspeakers in Dargahs and Mosques are prohibited from being used between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.,”
The circular went on to state that any violation of the “silence zones” would result in a penalty.
“Silence zones” are described as areas of at least 100 metres around hospitals, educational institutes, and courts.
The circular from Karnataka State Board of Auqaf also said, ” In a silence zone, anybody who uses sound amplification, or uses a loudspeaker or public address device, burst sound-emitting firecrackers, are subject to the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act-1986.”
At the board’s 327th meeting on December 19, 2020, these decisions were made and “it unanimously resolved to build awareness between the managements of Masjids and Dargahs” in Karnataka.
The decision to prohibit loudspeakers at dargah and mosques were made at the board’s 327th meeting on December 19, 2020, regarding strict adherence to the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rule, 2000 in Karnataka, and “it unanimously resolved to build awareness amongst the managements of Masjids and Dargahs,” according to the statement.
The order from Karnataka Waqf Board, said, “Increased ambient noise levels across several Masjids and Dargahs as a result of generator sets, loudspeakers, and public address systems have been found to have negative effects on people’s health and psychological well-being.”
The board reminded the mutawallis and managing committees of mosques and dargahs that on July 10, 2017 (when Siddaramaiah led the Congress government in Karnataka), released a circular reminding them to meet the ambient noise standards set forth in Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.
Loudspeakers should only be used for “azaan” and other related announcements, according to the circular, while speakers installed on mosque and dargah premises should be used for congregational Salat, Jumma Qutba, Bayans, religious socio-cultural, and knowledge-based functions.
In consultation with local environmental officers, the noise-controlling equipment may be mounted in the institutions.
Maqsood Imran who is the Khateeb O Imam of Bengaluru’s Jamia Masjid, while talking to PTI said that he had also received the circular. He went on to say that they had discussed revising the circular with the board’s CEO since the morning “azan” is crucial.
Tanveer Sait, a Waqf Board member and MLA, wrote a letter to the board’s CEO, which he shared.
A letter by Tanveer Sait stated, ” Since the board is an independent body, you are hereby directed to release an updated circular as soon as possible, taking into account sunrise timings and the prudent use of loudspeakers between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., as the holy month of Ramzan approaches.”
“It is a great move towards amiability in the society between the two groups — minorities and majorities,” Anwar Manippady, former chairman of the state Waqf Board, told PTI.