Updated: March 18, 2021 8:13:16 am
Allahabad University Vice-Chancellor Prof Sangita Srivastava has written to senior officers in Prayagraj, stating that her “sleep is disturbed due to loud azan” from the nearby mosque and that it “results in a headache, throughout the day, causing losses in work hours”.
The mosque, around 400 m from the V-C’s residence in Civil Lines, is called Lal Masjid.
In the March 3 letter to Prayagraj DM Bhanu Chandra Goswami, titled, “Noise Pollution in Civil Lines, Prayagraj”, the V-C has written, “This is to bring to your kind notice that every morning at about 5.30 am my sleep is disturbed due to loud azan done on the mike by the maulvi in the surrounding mosque. The sleep so disturbed does not resume even after trying hard. This also results in a headache, throughout the day, causing losses in work hours.”
“An old adage says ‘your freedom ends where my nose begins’ this holds true here. I am not against any religion, caste or creed, they may even perform the Azan without the mike, so that others are not disturbed. Even before Eid, they pronounce Sehri on the mike at 4 am. This practice also creates disturbance to other people. The Constitution of India envisages a secular and peaceful co-existence of all communities, which needs to be practised in letter and spirit,” the letter added.
The V-C also referred to an Allahabad High Court judgment in a PIL filed by Ghazipur MP Afzal Ansari and two others.
In May last year, the court had said that while azan (call to prayer) “may be an essential and integral part of ”, its recitation “through loudspeakers or other sound-amplifying devices cannot be said to be an integral part of the religion, warranting protection of the fundamental right enshrined under Article 25 of the Constitution of India, which is even otherwise subject to public order, morality or health and to other provisions” of Part III of the Constitution.
The V-C’s letter sought a “quick response” from the administration and said, “A quick response from you will be highly appreciated and will restore some peace and tranquility in the minds of all suffering from this loud Azan.”
The letter is also marked to Prayagraj (range) IG Kavindra Pratap Singh and SSP Sarvashresth Tripathi and Prayagraj Divisional Commissioner Sanjay Goel.
DM Goswami told The Indian Express, “The letter was received. We are looking into it. And we will take action according to the rules and regulations.”
Responding to the letter, Lucknow-based prominent Sunni cleric Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali said on Wednesday, “The letter written by Allahabad (University) V-C which speaks about the restriction on usage of loudspeaker for azaan… We oppose it. She should be aware that our country is famous for its Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb. People in the country respect others’ religions and this is the reason that the sound of azan from mosques and bhajan and kirtan from temples is always in the air. No one’s sleep has been disturbed due to it.” “Hence, saying things like this is meaningless and the honourable High Court’s order from earlier are being followed at mosques. I appeal to everyone to respect each other’s religion, and also, not confuse people with unnecessary issues,” he said.
IG Singh said, “The High Court ruling does say that no one should use loudspeaker between 10 pm and 6 am.”
The V-C was unavailable for comment, and officials informed that she is on leave for a week for “personal reasons”.
Qaleem-ur-Rahman, caretaker of the mosque, said he got to know about the issue Tuesday. “Some police officers had informed us about this and I also saw it in the newspapers. We have reduced the volume of the speaker by more than 50 per cent from Tuesday and have turned it away. We decided to take the step as we felt that if someone is having an issue with it in their personal life, then they should not have to face it,” he said.