After restricting mosques and dargahs from using loudspeakers between 10 pm to 6 am during namaaz citing the Noise Pollution, the Karnataka State Board of Wakf has now revised it's circular saying nothing will prevent morning Azaan over the loudspeaker saying that the content of circular has been misinterpreted.
In a circular, the board stated that the decision to bar the use of loudspeakers during the specified time was taken to prevent noise pollution. "With the objective of maintaining the ambient standards of noise, the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 are in force. The loudspeakers shall not be used in the night time, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.," the circular said.
The Waqf board earlier said, "Loudspeakers shall not be used from 10:00 pm onwards up to 6:00 am and loudspeakers used during the day shall be as per the ambient air quality standards," a circular issued by the board stated.
"Congregational Salat, Juma Qutba, Bayans, religious, socio-cultural and knowledge-based-functions shall be performed with the speakers installed in the religious premises," the circular added.
The circular said that it is observed that increasing ambient noise level around many masjids and dargahs due to generator sets, loudspeakers and public address systems have deleterious effects on human health and the psychological well-being of the people.
The area comprising not less than 100 metres around hospitals, educational institutions and courts have been declared as silent zones.
"Whoever uses any sound amplifier, sound-emitting firecrackers, loudspeaker or public address system in the silent zones is liable for penalty under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986," the circular explained.
It further stressed that this order has been issued after the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board directed the Wakf board to take necessary action to maintain ambient sound levels in and around religious places.
'Content of circular has been misinterpreted': Waqf
As per the latest circular the board stated, "It is observed that the content of circular has been misinterpreted, the prohibition of using loudspeakers was misinterpreted as a prohibition for morning Azan which is not correct. Therefore, nothing will prevent morning Azan from using loudspeaker by complying with the standards prescribed,"
According to reports, Karnataka Waqf Board official said there was no pressure from the saffron party adding that following the directions/guidelines is the responsibility of all the institutions and all the departments.
However, the circular does not bar using loudspeakers for important announcements such as death, the timing of burial, the sighting of moon etc.