2 Mumbai mosques booked for using loudspeakers for azaan

MUMBAI: The Mumbai police on Saturday registered cases against functionaries of two mosques in the western suburbs for flouting noise pollution norms by using loudspeakers for the early morning prayers.

The cases come in the midst of a political row raked by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray and leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who sought the removal of loudspeakers from mosques last month, with the state government contending that the use of loudspeakers was legal as long as written permissions were sought and noise norms were adhered to.

The imams (head priests) of the Noorani Masjid on Bazar Road in Bandra and the Muslim Kabarastan mosque in Santacruz were booked for using the loudspeaker in contravention of the Noise Pollution Rules (2000), which prevents the use of the loudspeaker before 6 am.

While one case was registered at the Bandra police station based on a complaint lodged by police constable Hemant Pagare, the second was registered at the Santacruz police station.

According to the complaint, Pagare heard the Azaan (call to prayer in the Islam faith) being played on loudspeakers atop Noorani Masjid following which he met the mosque’s trustee Jakel Tuffel Khan and informed him that he was part of several meetings and even a WhatsApp group formed by police to create awareness about the norms.

Khan told the police that he had informed the mosque’s imam, Anwar Ashraf Mohammed Shabbir Shah, about the rules. The police registered a case against Shah under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant) and some relevant sections of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951.

The second case was registered at the Santacruz police station against Mohammed Shoaib Abdul Sattar Shaikh, the president of Muslim Kabarastan mosque on Linking Road at Santacruz west, and mosque imam Aarif Mohammed Siddiqui.