Several mosques in Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh have alleged that police and the administration have asked them to not make any announcements over the loudspeaker, and to stop the azaan, the call to prayer. A similar order has been issued in Farrukhabad, an official said.
The azaan indicates it is time for namaaz, and marks the beginning and end of the fast in the holy month of Ramzan, which began on Saturday.
Senior officials in these districts and the state government either denied the allegations or were unavailable for a comment.
Zahid Khan, in-charge of a mosque in Jamania police station area of Ghazipur, told The Sunday Express that some policemen had come to the mosque at 3.45 am on Saturday, and told them that district officials had ordered that no announcements or azaan would be made over the loudspeaker. “When I asked them to produce the written order, the policemen said verbal orders had been issued by the DM. They told us that if we did not obey, action would be taken against us. We did not make any announcement today,” he said.
Sufyan Nizami, spokesperson of Darul Uloom Firangi Mahal, said, “I have been receiving calls from imams in Ghazipur all day. The azaan is even more important during Ramzan because it provides the cue for people to begin and end their fasts,” Nizami said.
Ghazipur SP Om Prakash Singh said: “There is no order regarding azaan in the district. Lockdown orders are applicable in the district as in the rest of the state.” Despite several calls and text messages, Ghazipur District Magistrate Om Prakash Arya could not be reached for a comment.
In Farrukhabad, City Magistrate Ashok Maurya said the DM had ordered that announcements from mosques and the use of mics was prohibited. “The order is an oral one from DM. The DM has said that no mosque will have any announcement and the mic will not be allowed there,” Maurya said.
Farrukhabad DM Manvendra Singh declined to comment.
Minister of State for Minority Welfare, Muslim Waqf and Hajj Mohsin Raza said he had been informed that no such order had been passed in Ghazipur. “I spoke to the DM of Ghazipur and he told me that no such order has been passed and it is not true. He told me that some mischievous elements must be doing politics in the time of crisis,” Raza said.
About Farrukhabad, Raza said: “It might be in the hotspot areas of the district. I don’t know about any such order.”
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