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Noise activist’s secular stand stumps Shiv Sena
Friday, 22 October 2010 - 12:57am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna Manoj R Nair (/authors/manoj-r-nair)
Stung by the police case registered against it for violating noise pollution rules during its October 17 Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park, the Shiv Sena accused anti-noise campaigners of ignoring loud azaans or call to prayers from the city’s mosques.
Stung by the police case registered against it for violating noise pollution (/topic/noise-pollution) rules during its October 17 Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park, the Shiv Sena (/topic/shiv-sena) accused anti-noise campaigners of ignoring loud azaans or call to prayers from the city’s mosques.
The Sena had been given permission to hold the rally on the condition that it will follow the provisions of the Noise Pollution Rules. Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation (/topic/awaaz-foundation) measured noise levels at the rally and found that there was a deliberate violation of rules. While the laws permit sound levels of up to 50 dB, the average level of noise at the rally was between 75 and 80 dB, often peaking at 93dB.
Abdulali’s recordings have been included in the complaint filed at the Shivaji Park (/topic/shivaji-park) police station filed by DCP Zone V, Aswati Dorje under the Environment Protection Act and the Bombay Police Act.
The crime is punishable by a fine of up to Rs1 lakh and a jail term of up to five years for organisers of the function, along with the senior party leaders whose speeches crossed permitted levels.
In an editorial in its Wednesday edition, Sena mouthpiece Saamna asked Abdulali why she had not filed complaints against mosques that use loudspeakers. It pointed out that loudspeakers attached to mosques in Bhendi Bazaar (/topic/bhendi-bazaar) and Behrampada are disturbing sleep and children’s studies.
But Abdulali, who has been relentlessly campaigning to create awareness about the health hazards of noise pollution, has not let religion come in her way. As she says, noise is secular by nature and harms people of every community, including Hindus living in Shivaji Park and Muslims in Bhendi Bazaar, leaving them vulnerable to its ill effects.
“The Sena has at last supported my request for banning loudspeakers atop mosques. It took some provocation to reach this point, since as the opposition party, they did nothing to ensure implementation of an affidavit filed by the government over a year ago that all religious places would be declared silence zones — but hope has dawned once more. I do hope the endangered tiger will stop roaring and get down to some action soon,” she said in a letter replying to Sena’s accusations.
She goes on to add: “In 2004, I filed a notice of motion in my pending PIL that loudspeakers at religious places should be banned, supported with data from numerous such places. In 2005, Muslim clerics voluntarily gave up early morning azaans for a brief period when the Supreme Court passed it’s order restricting Ganpati to 10pm, but most resumed after the time was extended (at the request of the state government) up to 12 midnight.
“All communities continue to break the law with impunity, and as usual, the common man suffers so that political parties, for political and commercial gain, can continue to disturb their peace in the name of religious sentiments. When I took the matter to court again in 2009, the government filed an affidavit in the Bombay high court that it will notify religious places as silence zones. But nothing happened.”
03 November 2015 | Last updated 12:12 AM
Ban on mosque loudspeakers: NGO supports Shiv Sena
Reporters Name | IANS | Thursday, 21 October 2010 AT 05:36 PM IST
Azan, Shiv Sena, Awaaz Foundation, Noise Pollution
MUMBAI: Awaaz Foundation, a Mumbai NGO fighting against noise pollution, Thursday welcomed the Shiv Sena's demand to stop mosques from using loudspeakers to give the call to prayer.
"The Shiv Sena has at last supported my request for banning loudspeakers atop mosques, though it took some provocation to reach this point," said NGO chief Sumaira Abdul Ali, who had filed a complaint against the party for violating Bombay High court-imposed noise levels in its Dussehra rally at the Shivaji Park Sunday.
Mumbai Police registered two separate cases, under the environment protection act and anti-noise pollution laws, against the Shiv Sena.
Stung by the proceedings against it, an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamna Wednesday opposed the loudspeakers atop mosques which disturbed people at different times of the day and night.
It also demanded why Ali was not raising her voice against this - "Is she not disturbed or bothered by the loudspeakers blaring from the mosques?"
In her response, Ali said that as the main opposition party in the state, the Sena did nothing to ensure implementation of the Maharashtra government's affidavit filed in the Bombay High Court last year that all religious places would be declared zones of silence.
"Hope has dawned once more. I hope the endangered Sena Tiger stops roaring and gets down to some action soon," she said, in a statement released here.
Ali said that in 2004, she had filed a notice in a pending public interest litigation demanding a ban on loudspeakers on all religious places.
Following this, in 2005, Muslim clerics voluntarily abandoned the early morning 'azaan' briefly when the Supreme Court passed orders restricting Ganesh celebrations till 10 p.m. However, the azaan calls resumed after the time for the Ganesh celebrations was extended (at the request of Maharashtra) up to 12 midnight.
"It is said that all communities continue to break the law with impunity and as usual, the common man suffers so that political parties, for political and commercial gain, can continue to disturb their peace in the name of religious sentiments. We also filed police complaints against the morning azaan but nothing happened," Ali said.
In 2009, the Maharashtra government filed an affidavit in the Bombay High Court that they would notify religious places as "silence zones", but so far no action has been taken in this regard.
Ali appealed to all political parties and communities to fight the evils of noise pollution which leads to hearing loss, high blood pressure, mental stress and heart disease, among others, and ensure that noise levels for all occasions are within safe and legal limits.
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Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.