Maharashtra hardens stance on use of loudspeakers amid Azaan row, prior permission required now

Amid the raging debate over the use of loudspeakers at religious places, the Maharashtra government on Monday announced that they can only be used with prior permission.

The Maharashtra Home Department is expected to issue an order regarding the same after a meeting on Monday where Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil will interact with the DGP to instruct him to direct all police commissioners and officers.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and Patil will also meet to discuss the law and order situation in the state and the issue of the use of loudspeakers in public places, according to news agency ANI.

Nashik Police commissioner has already issued an order making it mandatory to take permission for use of loudspeakers at religious places and events.

The demand for removal of loudspeakers was first raised by MNS chief Raj Thackeray earlier this month, which later sparked off a major political controversy. Thackeray asked the Maharashtra government to remove the loudspeakers from mosques by May 3. Otherwise, his party will play Hanuman Chalisa in front of the mosques, he threatened.

On Sunday, he said he will visit Ayodhya on June 5 to take darshan of Lord Ram and appealed to “Hindu brothers” to “be prepared” if loudspeakers are not removed from mosques by May 3.

Stating that loudspeakers relaying the ‘azaan’ call is more of a social issue than a religious one, Thackeray said they do not want peace in society disturbed, “but if the use of loudspeakers continues then they (Muslims) will also have to listen to our prayers on loudspeakers ”.

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