Urging the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure the best facilities for Muslims during the holy month of Ramzan, the state minorities commission has claimed that the local authorities are forcibly removing even those loudspeakers from mosques that had been installed as per the rules.
The commission's chief Ashfaq Saifi said he has received "lots of complaints" that loudspeakers that were installed adhering to the guidelines of the Allahabad High Court, including decibel limits, were removed by the local administration.
Saifi said he has written to the UP chief secretary, asking him to ensure that loudspeakers installed as per the law are not removed. He said he has also told the top government officer that Muslims must be "given a feeling of security and harmony".
"I have written a letter to the chief secretary of the state and also advised all police chiefs and district magistrates to extend the best facilities and security to Muslim community members during the month of Ramzan, expected to start from March 23," Saifi said.
"I have received lots of complaints from Muslim community members that the loudspeakers mounted on mosques, even being in accordance with guidelines of the high court, are forcibly removed by the local administration. I have asked the chief secretary to ensure that loudspeakers installed as per the law must not be removed and Muslims must be given a feeling of security and harmony," he said.
The state government had carried out a campaign to remove unauthorised loudspeakers from religious places. The directives issued by the government for the purpose were based on an order of the Allahabad High Court.
In December 2017, the court asked the Uttar Pradesh government to implement noise pollution control rules in religious places. The government later began removing the amplifiers installed without the requisite permission and those that violated the noise pollution norms.
The loudspeakers installed at public places cannot have a sound level more than 10 decibels above the ambient noise level at the periphery of a public place and 5 decibels above the ambient noise level at the periphery of a private place, say the norms.
Saifi, in his letter to the chief secretary, also asked him to ensure proper lighting, cleanliness and an uninterrupted supply of electricity and water in all mosques during Ramzan. He said almost all mosques remain full in the evening and at night when Muslims break their-day-long fast and offer namaz of 'Taraveeh' (prayers).
"There are huge crowds of namaz in mosques during Ramzan, especially on Eid, and also during Friday prayers. I have asked for proper security arrangements so that no untoward incident takes place," he said.
"I also appeal to the members of the Muslim community to offer prayers in the premises of mosques and they should strictly avoid offering of namaz on roads and public places," Saifi said.