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Deadline to apply for licence to use loudspeaker up, but no sign of guidelines – Mrit News

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State police unsure of terms of the licence to be issued and mechanism to oversee its implementation

State police unsure of terms of the licence to be issued and mechanism to oversee its implementation

Over a week after the 15-day deadline to apply for licences for the use of loudspeakers, the police are yet to issue the licences as the government is yet to clarify the terms of the proposed licence. 

Following a campaign by Hindutva groups against the use of loudspeakers in mosques for azan, the State government asked all institutions to apply and avail a licence for use of loudspeakers on May 10 and set the 15-day deadline. The government made the Deputy Superintendent of Police and Assistant Commissioner of Police the nodal officers for the same.

A total of 549 mosques, 50 temples, 29 churches, and three other institutions totalling to 631 institutions have applied for the licence in Bengaluru city till date. Across the State, 3,489 institutions applied for licences during the 15-day period from May 10 to May 25. 

However, no licence have been issued so far, as the State police is not clear on the terms of the licence to be issued and the mechanism to oversee its implementation. The State police have now sought clarification on the licence fee, duration of the licence, and the number of mics that could be allowed to be used per licence. Also, there is no clarity on the enforcement mechanism and penalisation for any violation of the terms of the licence, sources said. 

Meanwhile, during a special drive taken up in April, at the peak of Hindutva group’s campaign against azan, the city police had served notices to 136 religious institutions and 93 bars, pubs, and restaurants for violating the Supreme Court norms on use of loudspeakers in Bengaluru. In the State, as many as 26,765 religious institutions and 2,713 eateries have been served similar notices in April this year. However, no action has been taken on these notices as well, as the police seem to be at a loss on what action is to be taken. 

Prominent Muslim cleric Maqsood Imran Rashadi said he hoped the State government would soon finalise the guidelines for the licence and issue it so that all confusion over the issue would be settled. 

Many mosques in the city have already begun installing a noise control device engineered by the community to ensure the azan call doesn’t exceed the permitted noise levels as per guidelines. “The noise levels from mosques that have installed the device have come down and the residents living around these mosques are also happy,” said a senior police official in the city.

Many have also stopped using loudspeakers to give the early morning 5 a.m. Fajr azan call, as the Supreme Court has banned use of loudspeakers from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. 

“The institutionalisation of a licence permit mechanism for use of loudspeakers was a knee-jerk reaction to the campaign by Hindutva organisations against azan. However, now that the issue has died down the government seems to be moving slow,” a police source said. 

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