Following police warning, Tarakeshwar temple, Shahdal Baba Dargah agree to stop using loudspeakers for azaan and bhajans, in keeping with SC norms
With the use of loudspeakers at places of worship yet to come under thorough regulation, those living close to these spots are often plagued by the noise.
In a step in the right direction, however, residents of Boat Club Road had come forward with concerns regarding the azaan (call to prayer) from the Shahdal Baba Dargah and bhajans from the Tarakeshwar temple. After being issued a warning by the police, the trustees of both the establishments agreed to stop using loudspeakers.
The temple is situated on a small hill in Yerwada while the dargah is on the Mula-Mutha river. Loudpeakers are used freely at both and had become anuisance to residents over the years.
Residents and members of the Boat Club Road Residents’ Committee visited the Yerwada police station on March 11and the deputy commissioner of Zone IV a few days ago.
The cops issued a written warning and the trustees took cognisance.
For residents living in societies such as Jagannath, Dwarkadheesh Annexe, Riverside Villas, Czar Palace, etc., this has come as immense relief.
“The kirtan starts at 5 am at Tarakeshwar temple and we are forced to wake up at the same time due to the loudspeakers. The mosque is nearly 400 metres away and the temple around 700 metres. But, sounds travel easily, especially at 5 am. Then, there is azaan during the day,” said Roda Mehta, a resident of the area who had approached the Yerwada police.
“Both places have loudspeakers and the bhajans and azaan are played at such high volume that the sound reaches even Boat Club Road. Since 2013, we have written to the Laxmi Nagar police chowky and the Yerwada police station. We even called the police control room but the problem persisted,” Mehta added.
Kripa Contracter, another resident, agreed, saying, “We met DCP (Zone IV) Dr Pravin Mundhe a few days ago regarding the noise problem. He had assured us that the problem would be solved.”
“There are elderly people living in the area, many of whom have chronic illnesses. The rule is that loudspeakers should not be used between 10 pm and 6 am and this should not be flouted,” Contractor added.
Mukund Mahajan, senior PI, Yerwada police station, said, “The trustee of the temple and the maulana of the dargah were called on the same day. After oral instructions, we also issued written warnings asking them to follow the Supreme Court norms, along with a copy of the court order. If they are found violating the norms in future, stringent action will be taken.”
Shankar Rajguru, trustee of Tarakeshwar temple assured, “Bhajans will not be played on speakers anymore. We will follow the orders of the police and remove the speakers installed at the temple altogether.”
However, Maulana Gulam Dastagir, of Shahadal Baba Dargah, said, “The dargah is on the other side of the river — how can the sound reach that distance? We don’t even have loudspeakers installed on top of the dargah or outside. We have only two speakers inside, which are used at low volume.”
He also said that azaans are not performed at the dargah and are in fact played in the masjid next door. “However, we will take extra care to ensure no norms are flouted from our end,” he added.