Karnataka high court order issued on January 11, 2021, directed the state government to take action against illegal loudspeakers at religious sites throughout the state. (Source: pexels.com)

Speaking to reporters in the city on Tuesday, the Bengaluru city Police Commissioner Kamal Kant said that loudspeakers are not allowed during the restricted hours and if this rule is violated loudspeakers will be seized and legal action will be taken.

“The police are acting as directed by the High Court on the use of loudspeakers elsewhere, including the religious centre. Using a loudspeaker is not allowed during the restricted period. If the rule is violated, the loudspeaker will be seized and legal action will be taken accordingly,” he said. He further adds, “More than 200 people who have used the loudspeaker have been issued a notice including religious centres, pubs and hotels. Some loudspeakers have also been confiscated.”

Hindu organisations in the state have asked that loudspeakers be banned from mosques in the city, threatening to use them in temples if this is not done. The Muslim holy month of Ramzan, which culminates in Eid, began earlier this week. Hindutva organisations in Hassan district have asked the management of Hindu temples in the district to use loudspeakers every Tuesday morning. At 5.30 a.m., Rishi Kumar Swami, the priest of Kalikamba temple in Arsikere, recited prayers over the loudspeaker. “If the mosques and madrasas’ loudspeakers must be turned on, then chant Ram and Hanuman chants on the loudspeakers at the same time,” the priest advised.

According to Bharath Shetty, a member of Bengaluru’s Bajrang Dal, the campaign against loudspeakers in mosques will begin at the Anjaneya temple in Yelahanka. Yogeshwar Rishi Kumar Swami, the pontiff of the Kali Mutt in Chikkamagaluru, was recently arrested for calling for the demolition of a mosque in Srirangapatna town, has announced a campaign to popularise the chanting of shlokas in all temples across the state. “Last month, we began praying in the morning at our mutt in Devanur. I’ll join in the prayer around 5 a.m,” he said.

A dispute over this also erupted again last week in Maharashtra, a neighbouring state. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s Raj Thackeray claimed that he is not anti-religion, but that if the state government does not remove the loudspeakers outside mosques, his party’s workers will play Hanuman Chalisa in front of them.

This article first appeared on hindustantimes.com