Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday addressed the media regarding the use of loudspeakers at mosques in the state. This comes 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 told reporters. “This is a high court order. It’s not forced. Everything has to be done by talking and explaining to people.”
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“It is not only for azaan, it is for all loudspeakers. So, we will take a call,” CM Bommai clarified. In 2021, the high court had curbed the use of loudspeakers in religious places.
On Monday, BJP senior leader Eshwarappa 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.”
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Last week, Raj Thackeray 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.
But other Maharashtra leaders did not support his comments. “People thought it 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.
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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.”
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The BJP ruled state in South India 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.