The Mumbai police on Wednesday said among the 2,400-odd temples, only 24 have obtained permission to use loudspeakers, while 950 out of the 1,140 mosques have received approval from authorities to use the device.
As per statistics available with the Mumbai police, only 1 per cent of the temples in the metropolis have obtained permission to use loudspeakers on their premises, an official said. However, figures on the use of the device by other holy places like churches, gurdwaras, Buddha viharas and synagogues are still being collected by the police and management of these places of worship will be asked to take permission for installing loudspeakers, he said.
Statistics related to permissions for using loudspeakers were discussed at a meeting attended by community leaders, trustees and representatives of religious and spiritual places in the financial capital, the official said.
The meeting was held at the Mumbai police commissioner’s office on Wednesday evening and came in the backdrop of MNS president Raj Thackeray demanding the removal of loudspeakers from mosques.
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Police commissioner Sanjay Pandey and joint police commissioner (Law and Order) Vishwas Nangre Patil, among others, attended the meeting, he said. After the loudspeaker row erupted, the police asked the management of shrines to take permission to use the device, the official said.
These places of worship have been asked to follow the Supreme Court guidelines about noise pollution and use loudspeakers within the prescribed decibel limits between 6 am and 10 pm. After Raj Thackeray’s ultimatum last month to the Maharashtra government to take down loudspeakers from mosques by May 4, many representatives of mosques approached the Mumbai Police and sought permission to play loudspeakers.
“Law is equal for all and we have asked religious places to obtain permission to play loudspeakers,” the official said. Permission to use loudspeakers will be given to shrines initially for a period of one month with certain conditions and the approval will be renewed from time to time and the entire process will be hassle-free, he said.
The police were trying to create awareness among representatives of religious places so that there is peace in the city and noise pollution is also kept under control, the official said.
Chintamani Nevate, a trustee of Khardanda Temple in suburban Mumbai who attended the meeting, said politicians should not play with the religious sentiments of people. “Politicians should not use such issues for elections,” he said.
The secretary of a Jain temple in Dadar said the decibel limit at religious places has been fixed at 50 and pointed out that the noise of mixers and grinders used in homes was higher than that.
“We do not play loudspeakers at high volume at our temple, but if somebody comes and threatens us over such things, then who will take handle the situation…or who will measure the decibels?” he asked.