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Gujarat: Hindu man killed by own community for using loudspeaker at temple

The daily wage earner was beaten to death in a Mehsana temple

11 May 2022

Gujarat
Accused arrested | Image:  ANI


In the second such case in a week, a Hindu man was beaten to death by his fellow Hindus for using a loudspeaker in a temple. Langhnaj police from Mehsana have identified the deceased as a 42-year-old daily wage worker named Jashwanti Thakore.

According to the Times of India, Thakore was attacked when he was performing arti on loudspeaker with his brother Ajit in a Mehsana temple. The Times of India reported that the incident took place at 7 P.M on May 4, just two days after a similar incident where 30-year-old Barat Rathod of Bavla taluka was killed for the same reason, again by his fellow Hindus, though in that case they belonged to a different caste.

In this case though, police have filed an FIR against five people based on Ajit’s complaint, namely- Sadaji Thakor, Vishnuji Thakor, Babuji Thakor, Jayantiji Thakor, Javanji Thakor, and Vinuji Thakor on May 5. Given how they have the same last name as the victim, it is unlikely that this violence was driven by the caste factor.

TOI quoted excerpts from Ajit’s complaint where he said that Jashwanti and he were performing aarti at the Meldi Mata temple. “At the time, Sadaji approached us and asked us why we were playing the loudspeaker so loudly. Ajit told him that we were performing an aarti. Irked, Sadaji began abusing us for playing the loudspeaker,” recalled Ajit in his complaint.

When the brother refused to comply, Sadaji called his aids and five of them came rushing and beat up the brothers. Ajit’s 10-year-old nephew present at the spot called his mother who informed the police. The villagers who had gathered to watch the brawl then took the brothers to the hospital, where Jashwanti died during treatment. Ajit has suffered a fracture on his left hand.

Related:

Pramod Muthalik stirs the Hanuman Chalisa vs Azaan pot

Will keep loudspeaker volume low: Mumbai Mosques

Use of loudspeakers not a fundamental right: Allahabad HC

VHP backs out on MNS’ Hanuman Chalisa event

Mathura: Krishna Janmabhoomi temple mutes loudspeaker

Gujarat: Hindu man killed by own community for using loudspeaker at temple

The daily wage earner was beaten to death in a Mehsana temple

Gujarat
Accused arrested | Image:  ANI


In the second such case in a week, a Hindu man was beaten to death by his fellow Hindus for using a loudspeaker in a temple. Langhnaj police from Mehsana have identified the deceased as a 42-year-old daily wage worker named Jashwanti Thakore.

According to the Times of India, Thakore was attacked when he was performing arti on loudspeaker with his brother Ajit in a Mehsana temple. The Times of India reported that the incident took place at 7 P.M on May 4, just two days after a similar incident where 30-year-old Barat Rathod of Bavla taluka was killed for the same reason, again by his fellow Hindus, though in that case they belonged to a different caste.

In this case though, police have filed an FIR against five people based on Ajit’s complaint, namely- Sadaji Thakor, Vishnuji Thakor, Babuji Thakor, Jayantiji Thakor, Javanji Thakor, and Vinuji Thakor on May 5. Given how they have the same last name as the victim, it is unlikely that this violence was driven by the caste factor.

TOI quoted excerpts from Ajit’s complaint where he said that Jashwanti and he were performing aarti at the Meldi Mata temple. “At the time, Sadaji approached us and asked us why we were playing the loudspeaker so loudly. Ajit told him that we were performing an aarti. Irked, Sadaji began abusing us for playing the loudspeaker,” recalled Ajit in his complaint.

When the brother refused to comply, Sadaji called his aids and five of them came rushing and beat up the brothers. Ajit’s 10-year-old nephew present at the spot called his mother who informed the police. The villagers who had gathered to watch the brawl then took the brothers to the hospital, where Jashwanti died during treatment. Ajit has suffered a fracture on his left hand.

Related:

Pramod Muthalik stirs the Hanuman Chalisa vs Azaan pot

Will keep loudspeaker volume low: Mumbai Mosques

Use of loudspeakers not a fundamental right: Allahabad HC

VHP backs out on MNS’ Hanuman Chalisa event

Mathura: Krishna Janmabhoomi temple mutes loudspeaker

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950 mosques and 24 temples approved for loudspeakers: Mumbai Police

All religious places worked together to ensure adherence to noise pollution rules

05 May 2022

Mumbai police
Image Courtesy:timesnownews.com

According to a report by a news agency, widely reproduced by several other publications, only one percent of Mumbai temples applied for permission to use loudspeakers, all of which were granted. This data has been attributed to the Mumbai Police who also said that 83 percent of the city’s mosques applied for and got the permission as well.

As per the information shared by the city police, only 24 out of 2,400-odd temples applied for police approval of loudspeakers. Meanwhile, 950 out of the 1,140 mosques applied and got permissions. Information on other structures like churches, gurdwaras, Buddha viharas and synagogues is still being collected. The information was shared during a meeting held between police personnel, local leaders and religious heads of the city, including Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey, Joint Police Commissioner (Law and Order) Vishwas Nangre Patil and others.

All religious places were asked to take these measures to ensure peace during Eid. Earlier, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief Raj Thackeray demanded that all mosques in Maharashtra remove their loudspeakers if they did not want Hanuman Chalisa chanted on their doorstep.

However, citizens instead worked together and ensured all places of worship followed the necessary guidelines to use loudspeakers within the prescribed decibel limits between 6 A.M and 10 P.M.

"Law is equal for all and we have asked religious places to obtain permission to play loudspeakers," the official said.

Accordingly, the permission to use loudspeakers will be given conditionally to shrines for one month and the approval will be renewed periodically. Khardanda Temple Trustee and attendee at the meeting Chintamani Nevate said politicians should not play with the religious sentiments of people.

Meanwhile, a secretary of a Dadar Jain temple complained about the decibel limit at religious places (50 decibels). He argued that mixers and grinders create louder noises.

Related:

VHP backs out on MNS’ Hanuman Chalisa event
Restoring faith in unity: Mumbai’s Iftar parties
SC impact: No Dharm Sansad as peace prevails in Roorkee
Bajrang Muni Das granted bail within 10 days of being arrested!

950 mosques and 24 temples approved for loudspeakers: Mumbai Police

All religious places worked together to ensure adherence to noise pollution rules

Mumbai police
Image Courtesy:timesnownews.com

According to a report by a news agency, widely reproduced by several other publications, only one percent of Mumbai temples applied for permission to use loudspeakers, all of which were granted. This data has been attributed to the Mumbai Police who also said that 83 percent of the city’s mosques applied for and got the permission as well.

As per the information shared by the city police, only 24 out of 2,400-odd temples applied for police approval of loudspeakers. Meanwhile, 950 out of the 1,140 mosques applied and got permissions. Information on other structures like churches, gurdwaras, Buddha viharas and synagogues is still being collected. The information was shared during a meeting held between police personnel, local leaders and religious heads of the city, including Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey, Joint Police Commissioner (Law and Order) Vishwas Nangre Patil and others.

All religious places were asked to take these measures to ensure peace during Eid. Earlier, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief Raj Thackeray demanded that all mosques in Maharashtra remove their loudspeakers if they did not want Hanuman Chalisa chanted on their doorstep.

However, citizens instead worked together and ensured all places of worship followed the necessary guidelines to use loudspeakers within the prescribed decibel limits between 6 A.M and 10 P.M.

"Law is equal for all and we have asked religious places to obtain permission to play loudspeakers," the official said.

Accordingly, the permission to use loudspeakers will be given conditionally to shrines for one month and the approval will be renewed periodically. Khardanda Temple Trustee and attendee at the meeting Chintamani Nevate said politicians should not play with the religious sentiments of people.

Meanwhile, a secretary of a Dadar Jain temple complained about the decibel limit at religious places (50 decibels). He argued that mixers and grinders create louder noises.

Related:

VHP backs out on MNS’ Hanuman Chalisa event
Restoring faith in unity: Mumbai’s Iftar parties
SC impact: No Dharm Sansad as peace prevails in Roorkee
Bajrang Muni Das granted bail within 10 days of being arrested!

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Eid is an occasion to celebrate humanity and brotherhood

Muslims across the world celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with a refurbished mind through month long fasting.

02 May 2022

Eid

Eid is a holy celebration to fasten the resolve to maintain the spiritual purity and impeccable faith gained through month long fasting from adulterations and contaminations. It is a social event to cement stout human bonds of love and affinity transcending religious and social considerations.

Eid announces the auspicious culmination of month long fasting. Fasting is a crass reminder of hardships of hunger and asks the faithful not to forget the God in times of prosperity. Eid presents a happy occasion for celebration for the believers without indulging in carnal desires and satanic temptations. This is a ‘gift day’ for Muslims after enduring pangs of hunger during fasting to heed to the commands of divine instructions.

Islam is a social religion which allows celebrations and festivities subject to refraining from the forbidden and encouraging virtues in society. Two Eid celebrations, viz. Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha, are celebrated by Muslims every year across the world. Eid-ul-Fitr is observed at the end of fasting whereas Eid-ul-Azha is celebrated simultaneously to Haj Pilgrimage. The core messages of Eid celebrations are of happiness and divine remembrance.

Eid celebration is associated with two important themes; divine and humane. Not to forget Allah and steadfastly abide by his instructions are essential to divine understanding of Eid. The celebration beginning with divine exaltations and special prayers has spiritual contents. It exhorts the faithful to submit themselves to divine pleasure and not to stomp the earth haughtily.

The humane aspect of Eid adds glitter and wafts of scent to the celebration. It is an occasion for family unions, neighborhood visits, outings with family and visiting friends. The tradition of inviting all neighbors to the house to delicious feasts without religious considerations adds more happiness to the occasion. Non-Muslim friends and neighbors visiting my home for Eid celebrations was highly anticipated for in my childhood which is reciprocated during Onam and Vishu festivals by vising their respective homes.

The virtuous liturgies of the day wrapped in spiritual sobriety prod the Muslim community to work for a brighter future in tandem with societal expectations. Prophet has religiously prohibited the faithful from fasting on this day. The message of Eid is that no one should be left with empty stomach wriggling with hunger. To ensure this, Islam calls for distribution of Fitr Zakat, (compulsory donation for financially eligible Muslims) prior to attending the Eid prayers. This charity donation ensures no one is bereft of food at this day and reminds the faithful of the eternal moral obligation to tend to the needs of the poor.

Bringing home a destitute child found at a roadside, Prophet Muhammed offered him dress and food and said to his wife Ayisha, “Today the happiness of this child completed our happiness.” This is the message of Eid to lend helping hands to those in distress. Fitr Zakat is a mere jurisprudential rendition of social responsibility to tend to the needs of people in need.

Eid heralds the noble messages of unity and brotherhood. It entails messages of compassion, empathy and benevolence. It sends strong messages against violence and communal discord. It is a gentle reminder of love prevailing hatred. In practice, Eid is not an exclusive festival of Muslims alone, but it is a celebration of all who values affection and friendship.

The festival should be used to weld together social relations. When the communal wedges are seeping dangerously deep inside into the time-tested social harmony, Eid should be an occasion to celebrate beauty of coexistence and religious pluralism. Gestures like inviting neighbors to join the Eid festivals, offering ‘Eid Thuhfa’ (token gifts) and sending social media greetings will definitely help bring people together and fight cynics and messengers of doom. Social interactions like on Eid will come a long way in foiling the bids to keep hate simmerring.

*The author is a journalism student at IIMC, Delhi and is interning with SabrangIndia.

 

Related:

Right-wing attempts at targeting BHU iftar deflated!

Senior Indian Army officers offer Namaz in Kashmir, shut trolls down

Maharashtra mosques reiterate commitment to following noise pollution laws

 

Eid is an occasion to celebrate humanity and brotherhood

Muslims across the world celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with a refurbished mind through month long fasting.

Eid

Eid is a holy celebration to fasten the resolve to maintain the spiritual purity and impeccable faith gained through month long fasting from adulterations and contaminations. It is a social event to cement stout human bonds of love and affinity transcending religious and social considerations.

Eid announces the auspicious culmination of month long fasting. Fasting is a crass reminder of hardships of hunger and asks the faithful not to forget the God in times of prosperity. Eid presents a happy occasion for celebration for the believers without indulging in carnal desires and satanic temptations. This is a ‘gift day’ for Muslims after enduring pangs of hunger during fasting to heed to the commands of divine instructions.

Islam is a social religion which allows celebrations and festivities subject to refraining from the forbidden and encouraging virtues in society. Two Eid celebrations, viz. Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha, are celebrated by Muslims every year across the world. Eid-ul-Fitr is observed at the end of fasting whereas Eid-ul-Azha is celebrated simultaneously to Haj Pilgrimage. The core messages of Eid celebrations are of happiness and divine remembrance.

Eid celebration is associated with two important themes; divine and humane. Not to forget Allah and steadfastly abide by his instructions are essential to divine understanding of Eid. The celebration beginning with divine exaltations and special prayers has spiritual contents. It exhorts the faithful to submit themselves to divine pleasure and not to stomp the earth haughtily.

The humane aspect of Eid adds glitter and wafts of scent to the celebration. It is an occasion for family unions, neighborhood visits, outings with family and visiting friends. The tradition of inviting all neighbors to the house to delicious feasts without religious considerations adds more happiness to the occasion. Non-Muslim friends and neighbors visiting my home for Eid celebrations was highly anticipated for in my childhood which is reciprocated during Onam and Vishu festivals by vising their respective homes.

The virtuous liturgies of the day wrapped in spiritual sobriety prod the Muslim community to work for a brighter future in tandem with societal expectations. Prophet has religiously prohibited the faithful from fasting on this day. The message of Eid is that no one should be left with empty stomach wriggling with hunger. To ensure this, Islam calls for distribution of Fitr Zakat, (compulsory donation for financially eligible Muslims) prior to attending the Eid prayers. This charity donation ensures no one is bereft of food at this day and reminds the faithful of the eternal moral obligation to tend to the needs of the poor.

Bringing home a destitute child found at a roadside, Prophet Muhammed offered him dress and food and said to his wife Ayisha, “Today the happiness of this child completed our happiness.” This is the message of Eid to lend helping hands to those in distress. Fitr Zakat is a mere jurisprudential rendition of social responsibility to tend to the needs of people in need.

Eid heralds the noble messages of unity and brotherhood. It entails messages of compassion, empathy and benevolence. It sends strong messages against violence and communal discord. It is a gentle reminder of love prevailing hatred. In practice, Eid is not an exclusive festival of Muslims alone, but it is a celebration of all who values affection and friendship.

The festival should be used to weld together social relations. When the communal wedges are seeping dangerously deep inside into the time-tested social harmony, Eid should be an occasion to celebrate beauty of coexistence and religious pluralism. Gestures like inviting neighbors to join the Eid festivals, offering ‘Eid Thuhfa’ (token gifts) and sending social media greetings will definitely help bring people together and fight cynics and messengers of doom. Social interactions like on Eid will come a long way in foiling the bids to keep hate simmerring.

*The author is a journalism student at IIMC, Delhi and is interning with SabrangIndia.

 

Related:

Right-wing attempts at targeting BHU iftar deflated!

Senior Indian Army officers offer Namaz in Kashmir, shut trolls down

Maharashtra mosques reiterate commitment to following noise pollution laws

 

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Mathura: Krishna Janmabhoomi temple mutes loudspeaker

Back in 2018 too, the Uttar Pradesh government had banned “unauthorised use of loudspeakers and public address systems at religious and public places”

23 Apr 2022

LoudspeakerImage Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

After Uttar Pradesh government’s latest directives on the use of loudspeakers, in places of worship, the Shree Krishna Janmabhoomi temple muted its main one. The temple used to play Manglacharan Aarti from 5:30 A.M to 6:30 A.M daily, but has now muted the loudspeaker since Wednesday.

The Shree Krishna Janmabhoomi temple will now comply with the UP government directive that the sound of the loudspeaker should be limited to the premises, and not inconvenience others. According to news reports, Shree Krishna Janmasthan Sewa Sansthan, secretary Kapil Sharma, said the decision to switch the loudspeaker off was taken at a meeting of the office bearers of the Sansthan on Tuesday night. He told the media that “now the bhajans were being played on low sound on speakers inside the temple respecting CM Yogi Adityanath’s directives.” The UP Chief Minister Adityanath had ordered that no religious procession be allowed without permission, and that use of loudspeakers should not inconvenience others.

Meanwhile the Gautam Budhh Nagar police reportedly issued notices to around 900 religious places, including temples and mosques over the use of loudspeakers, stated news reports. Police told the media, “Notices were served on 602 temples out of 621, 265 mosques out of 268, 16 other religious places as well as 217 wedding halls and 175 DJ operators." 

Aligarh city’s  BJP MLA from Mukta Raja also wrote to the Additional District Magistrate (ADM) “seeking details of loudspeakers mounted at mosques”. The letter reportedly “asked the ADM about the intensity of the loudspeakers installed at the mosques and if they were in consonance with court directives.” The BJP MLA has asked that the ADM “conduct physical examination of the loudspeakers”. The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board rules state that loudspeakers should not be operated after 10 P.M and before 6 A.M, and must  be fitted with a 'sound limiter'.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, Uttar Pradesh’s religious leaders have applauded the CM’s appeal, and “some districts, including Mathura and Kanpur, saw voluntary steps to either let loudspeakers remain silent or remove them from temples.” Muslim clerics have also asked the mosque committees to reduce the volume of loudspeakers stated the news report. Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali, Imam Eidgah in Lucknow was quoted saying, “We welcome CM’s order and we believe that it is a general order. We have directed all the mosques here to limit the sound of the loudspeakers and to ensure that it may not come out of the premises.” 

Back in 2018 too, the Uttar Pradesh government had banned “unauthorised use of loudspeakers and public address systems at religious and public places across the state.” According to a report in the Indian Express from that year the “the government has warned that all such loudspeakers will be removed” after the January 20, 2018 deadline. Those orders had been given after the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, on December 20, 2017 had “asked the state government whether written permission was obtained from the concerned authorities before loudspeakers or public address systems were installed at religious places like mosques, temples, churches and gurdwaras.” 

On January 4 an in order “addressed to all district magistrates, senior superintendents of police and superintendents of police, State Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar has asked them to form teams, comprising revenue and police officials in their respective districts, to identify religious and public places where unauthorised loudspeakers and public address systems are being used,” reported the IE.

Related

UP priest booked for playing Hanuman Chalisa outside mosque
Maharashtra mosques reiterate commitment to following noise pollution laws
Maharashtra’s Barad village stands together against loudspeaker controversy
Krishna Janmabhoomi: Allahabad High Court orders fresh hearings
Hate Offender Keshav Prasad Maurya emerges as one of the biggest losers in UP Assembly elections 
Pirana: Attempts to erase the history of the 600-year-old dargah?
Why did UP’s Deputy CM defend Haridwar hate speech?
Kashi-Vishwanath corridor inauguration: No separation of Mandir and State?
History must be accepted as a whole; temple restoration plea in Qutub Minar complex rejected

Mathura: Krishna Janmabhoomi temple mutes loudspeaker

Back in 2018 too, the Uttar Pradesh government had banned “unauthorised use of loudspeakers and public address systems at religious and public places”

LoudspeakerImage Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

After Uttar Pradesh government’s latest directives on the use of loudspeakers, in places of worship, the Shree Krishna Janmabhoomi temple muted its main one. The temple used to play Manglacharan Aarti from 5:30 A.M to 6:30 A.M daily, but has now muted the loudspeaker since Wednesday.

The Shree Krishna Janmabhoomi temple will now comply with the UP government directive that the sound of the loudspeaker should be limited to the premises, and not inconvenience others. According to news reports, Shree Krishna Janmasthan Sewa Sansthan, secretary Kapil Sharma, said the decision to switch the loudspeaker off was taken at a meeting of the office bearers of the Sansthan on Tuesday night. He told the media that “now the bhajans were being played on low sound on speakers inside the temple respecting CM Yogi Adityanath’s directives.” The UP Chief Minister Adityanath had ordered that no religious procession be allowed without permission, and that use of loudspeakers should not inconvenience others.

Meanwhile the Gautam Budhh Nagar police reportedly issued notices to around 900 religious places, including temples and mosques over the use of loudspeakers, stated news reports. Police told the media, “Notices were served on 602 temples out of 621, 265 mosques out of 268, 16 other religious places as well as 217 wedding halls and 175 DJ operators." 

Aligarh city’s  BJP MLA from Mukta Raja also wrote to the Additional District Magistrate (ADM) “seeking details of loudspeakers mounted at mosques”. The letter reportedly “asked the ADM about the intensity of the loudspeakers installed at the mosques and if they were in consonance with court directives.” The BJP MLA has asked that the ADM “conduct physical examination of the loudspeakers”. The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board rules state that loudspeakers should not be operated after 10 P.M and before 6 A.M, and must  be fitted with a 'sound limiter'.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, Uttar Pradesh’s religious leaders have applauded the CM’s appeal, and “some districts, including Mathura and Kanpur, saw voluntary steps to either let loudspeakers remain silent or remove them from temples.” Muslim clerics have also asked the mosque committees to reduce the volume of loudspeakers stated the news report. Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali, Imam Eidgah in Lucknow was quoted saying, “We welcome CM’s order and we believe that it is a general order. We have directed all the mosques here to limit the sound of the loudspeakers and to ensure that it may not come out of the premises.” 

Back in 2018 too, the Uttar Pradesh government had banned “unauthorised use of loudspeakers and public address systems at religious and public places across the state.” According to a report in the Indian Express from that year the “the government has warned that all such loudspeakers will be removed” after the January 20, 2018 deadline. Those orders had been given after the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, on December 20, 2017 had “asked the state government whether written permission was obtained from the concerned authorities before loudspeakers or public address systems were installed at religious places like mosques, temples, churches and gurdwaras.” 

On January 4 an in order “addressed to all district magistrates, senior superintendents of police and superintendents of police, State Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar has asked them to form teams, comprising revenue and police officials in their respective districts, to identify religious and public places where unauthorised loudspeakers and public address systems are being used,” reported the IE.

Related

UP priest booked for playing Hanuman Chalisa outside mosque
Maharashtra mosques reiterate commitment to following noise pollution laws
Maharashtra’s Barad village stands together against loudspeaker controversy
Krishna Janmabhoomi: Allahabad High Court orders fresh hearings
Hate Offender Keshav Prasad Maurya emerges as one of the biggest losers in UP Assembly elections 
Pirana: Attempts to erase the history of the 600-year-old dargah?
Why did UP’s Deputy CM defend Haridwar hate speech?
Kashi-Vishwanath corridor inauguration: No separation of Mandir and State?
History must be accepted as a whole; temple restoration plea in Qutub Minar complex rejected

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Maharashtra mosques reiterate commitment to following noise pollution laws

In light of approaching Eid, state police hold meetings with authorities and local leaders to ensure peace and protection of the Muslim community’s customary rights

20 Apr 2022

Mosque

Around two weeks before Eid, Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) Rajnish Seth instructed all police units on April 19, 2022 to enforce the law and the Supreme Court’s guidelines on the use of loudspeakers. The order comes after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief Raj Thackeray’s demand for the removal of loudspeakers from mosques by May 3. However, it is noteworthy that mosques have never showcased any resistance to following laws. In fact, almost three quarters of the mosques in the state have already decided to not use loudspeakers for the first Azaan of the day that takes place at 5 A.M, in accordance with the Supreme Court ban on using loudspeakers between 10 P.M and 6 A.M.

According to The Wire, DGP Seth held a video conference with top police officials on Tuesday and discussed Thackeray’s open threat of playing Hanuman Chalisa outside any mosque and using a loudspeaker. District Superintendents of Police, Special Inspector Generals of various ranges and City Commissioners all agreed to allow loudspeakers between 6 AM and 10 PM with prior police permission. Seth further told them to strictly abide by the apex court’s guidelines and the norms laid down by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).

As per the report, State Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil said that the police were “fully prepared and are taking steps to prevent untoward incidents”. Earlier, Walse-Patil said that Seth and Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey will prepare comprehensive guidelines on the use of loudspeakers at places of worship.

Pandey has also been repeatedly voicing work in this direction on his social media, adding how the needless threat has added to the work of the police machinery.

 

 

Mumbai precautions

On the same day as the top-level meeting, Mumbai police officials also held a meeting with prominent religious leaders in the district. At the end of the meeting 72 percent of Mumbai’s mosques agreed to not use loudspeakers for the 5 A.M Azaan, and the rest agreed to ensure keeping the volume to the permitted decibel-level. This decision is in keeping with the Supreme Court order that bans the use of loudspeakers between 10 PM and 6 AM. The penalty for violating this order involves a minimum sentence of five years and a fine of ₹ 5 lakh.

India Today reported that a special squad will likely monitor noise levels, while the police collect information on people charged with inciting communal tensions. Accordingly, hate mongers and social media will be monitored.

Nashik police recognises customary rights

Meanwhile, Nashik Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey banned the playing of Hanuman Chalisa, bhajan or kirtan, 15 minutes before and after Azaan on April 18. Speaking to a news agency, Pandey said that section 40 of the Police Rules, 1951 allows the police to enforce such laws in times of social or religious unrest, keeping in mind legal and customary rights. As such, the police prohibited the playing of similar hymns within 100 meters of a mosque. The move was celebrated as an effective means to curb Hindutva extremism.

Communal politics persists

While state police are working with local leaders to maintain peace, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has accused the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) of creating a ruckus taking cues from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Wire reported that former Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Pravin Togadia reacted to this claim by pointing out that the BJP did not act against loudspeakers when it was in power. It may be noted that while the police have not banned loudspeakers, they have asked the structures to adhere to the law.

Moreover, despite refuting BJP involvement, Togadia said the BJP should remove loudspeakers from mosques in the states where the party is in power, contradicting his previous statement.

Related:

72 percent of Mumbai’s mosque hold off on loudspeakers

Nashik police prohibit Hanuman Chalisa just before and after Azaan

Remove loudspeakers from mosques before Eid: Raj Thackeray

Vasant More rejects communalism, stands up to Raj ThackeraA

Maharashtra mosques reiterate commitment to following noise pollution laws

In light of approaching Eid, state police hold meetings with authorities and local leaders to ensure peace and protection of the Muslim community’s customary rights

Mosque

Around two weeks before Eid, Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) Rajnish Seth instructed all police units on April 19, 2022 to enforce the law and the Supreme Court’s guidelines on the use of loudspeakers. The order comes after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief Raj Thackeray’s demand for the removal of loudspeakers from mosques by May 3. However, it is noteworthy that mosques have never showcased any resistance to following laws. In fact, almost three quarters of the mosques in the state have already decided to not use loudspeakers for the first Azaan of the day that takes place at 5 A.M, in accordance with the Supreme Court ban on using loudspeakers between 10 P.M and 6 A.M.

According to The Wire, DGP Seth held a video conference with top police officials on Tuesday and discussed Thackeray’s open threat of playing Hanuman Chalisa outside any mosque and using a loudspeaker. District Superintendents of Police, Special Inspector Generals of various ranges and City Commissioners all agreed to allow loudspeakers between 6 AM and 10 PM with prior police permission. Seth further told them to strictly abide by the apex court’s guidelines and the norms laid down by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).

As per the report, State Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil said that the police were “fully prepared and are taking steps to prevent untoward incidents”. Earlier, Walse-Patil said that Seth and Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey will prepare comprehensive guidelines on the use of loudspeakers at places of worship.

Pandey has also been repeatedly voicing work in this direction on his social media, adding how the needless threat has added to the work of the police machinery.

 

 

Mumbai precautions

On the same day as the top-level meeting, Mumbai police officials also held a meeting with prominent religious leaders in the district. At the end of the meeting 72 percent of Mumbai’s mosques agreed to not use loudspeakers for the 5 A.M Azaan, and the rest agreed to ensure keeping the volume to the permitted decibel-level. This decision is in keeping with the Supreme Court order that bans the use of loudspeakers between 10 PM and 6 AM. The penalty for violating this order involves a minimum sentence of five years and a fine of ₹ 5 lakh.

India Today reported that a special squad will likely monitor noise levels, while the police collect information on people charged with inciting communal tensions. Accordingly, hate mongers and social media will be monitored.

Nashik police recognises customary rights

Meanwhile, Nashik Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey banned the playing of Hanuman Chalisa, bhajan or kirtan, 15 minutes before and after Azaan on April 18. Speaking to a news agency, Pandey said that section 40 of the Police Rules, 1951 allows the police to enforce such laws in times of social or religious unrest, keeping in mind legal and customary rights. As such, the police prohibited the playing of similar hymns within 100 meters of a mosque. The move was celebrated as an effective means to curb Hindutva extremism.

Communal politics persists

While state police are working with local leaders to maintain peace, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has accused the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) of creating a ruckus taking cues from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Wire reported that former Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Pravin Togadia reacted to this claim by pointing out that the BJP did not act against loudspeakers when it was in power. It may be noted that while the police have not banned loudspeakers, they have asked the structures to adhere to the law.

Moreover, despite refuting BJP involvement, Togadia said the BJP should remove loudspeakers from mosques in the states where the party is in power, contradicting his previous statement.

Related:

72 percent of Mumbai’s mosque hold off on loudspeakers

Nashik police prohibit Hanuman Chalisa just before and after Azaan

Remove loudspeakers from mosques before Eid: Raj Thackeray

Vasant More rejects communalism, stands up to Raj ThackeraA

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72 percent of Mumbai’s mosque hold off on loudspeakers

In keeping with the Supreme Court, mosques stop the use of loudspeakers for morning azaan

20 Apr 2022

Azaan

As many as 72 percent of Mumbai’s mosques said they will hold off on playing the 5 AM azaan via loudspeakers, police sources informed PTI on April 19, 2022. Although the news comes after the open threats of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief, this decision is in keeping with the Supreme Court order that bans the use of loudspeakers between 10 PM and 6 AM.

Earlier, MNS Chief Raj Thackeray had demanded that mosques all over Maharashtra remove their loudspeakers by Eid i.e May 3, 2022. He claimed that party members will build speakers twice the height of the structure and play Hanuman Chalisa if the minority community does not heed him.

Focused on maintaining peace in the city, the police met religious leaders and concluded that 72 percent of mosques will not employ loudspeakers for the first azaan of the day. The rest will reduce the volume in line with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board Rules. Mosques will also adhere to the apex court decision, violating which parties are subject to a minimum sentence of five years and a fine of ₹ 5 lakh.

According to India Today, a special squad is likely to monitor noise levels, while the police collect information on people charged with inciting communal tensions. Further, senior officials said the police will monitor hate mongers and take strict action against any inflammatory speeches. Social media will also be monitored.

Related:

Nashik police prohibit Hanuman Chalisa just before and after Azaan

Remove loudspeakers from mosques before Eid: Raj Thackeray

Vasant More rejects communalism, stands up to Raj Thackeray

What does Raj Thackeray hope to achieve with his anti-Muslim speech?

72 percent of Mumbai’s mosque hold off on loudspeakers

In keeping with the Supreme Court, mosques stop the use of loudspeakers for morning azaan

Azaan

As many as 72 percent of Mumbai’s mosques said they will hold off on playing the 5 AM azaan via loudspeakers, police sources informed PTI on April 19, 2022. Although the news comes after the open threats of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief, this decision is in keeping with the Supreme Court order that bans the use of loudspeakers between 10 PM and 6 AM.

Earlier, MNS Chief Raj Thackeray had demanded that mosques all over Maharashtra remove their loudspeakers by Eid i.e May 3, 2022. He claimed that party members will build speakers twice the height of the structure and play Hanuman Chalisa if the minority community does not heed him.

Focused on maintaining peace in the city, the police met religious leaders and concluded that 72 percent of mosques will not employ loudspeakers for the first azaan of the day. The rest will reduce the volume in line with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board Rules. Mosques will also adhere to the apex court decision, violating which parties are subject to a minimum sentence of five years and a fine of ₹ 5 lakh.

According to India Today, a special squad is likely to monitor noise levels, while the police collect information on people charged with inciting communal tensions. Further, senior officials said the police will monitor hate mongers and take strict action against any inflammatory speeches. Social media will also be monitored.

Related:

Nashik police prohibit Hanuman Chalisa just before and after Azaan

Remove loudspeakers from mosques before Eid: Raj Thackeray

Vasant More rejects communalism, stands up to Raj Thackeray

What does Raj Thackeray hope to achieve with his anti-Muslim speech?

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Allahabad HC bats for tolerance, but refuses to strike down meat and liquor sale ban

The court held that as the ban only applied to 22 wards in Mathura Vrindavan, it was not a complete ban; also claims of harassment were just “bald sweeping statements”

20 Apr 2022

Allahabad HC

On March 28, 2022, the Allahabad High Court dismissed a Writ Petition against the Uttar Pradesh administration for banning the sale of meat and liquor in Mathura-Vrindavan region. However, in a display of appreciation for India’s pluralism the court observed, “India is a country of great diversity. It is absolutely essential if we wish to keep our country united to have tolerance and respect for all communities and sects.”

The High Court bench of Justices Pritinker Diwaker and Ashutosh Srivastava restricted itself from dwelling into the validity of the Notification and Order of the UP Government as the Petition filed does not challenge the same.

Background of the Case

State Government’s Order/Notification

The State Government of Uttar Pradesh under its Notification dated September 10, 2021 had notified 22 wards of Mathura Vrindavan Nagar Nigam as ‘Holy Place of Pilgrimage’. The notification had banned the sale of liquor and meat within a 10 square kilometers radius around Krishna Janmabhoomi in Vrindavan, Mathura.

On September 11, 2021 another consequential Order was passed by the Food Processing Officer, Food Safety and Drugs Administration, Mathura according to which the registration of shops selling meat and non-vegetarian restaurants were suspended with immediate effect.

About the petition

Shahida, a social worker, had filed a Writ Petition, later on styled as Public Interest Litigation (PIL), in High Court of Allahabad against the State Government’s decision to ban the sale of meat and liquor. This PIL was instituted for consideration of the representation (on behalf of the residents of the ward) addressed to the District Magistrate, Mathura.

In her representation she had sought relief against complete ban on running meat, fish, egg shops etc., and also sought relief against suspension of the license of shops, non-veg hotels etc., with immediate effect.

She had also sought directions for permitting easy transportation of such restricted materials from outside for weddings and other ceremonial functions. The representation also prayed that the local police should not harass the people involved in transporting the restricted materials from outside into the said 22 notified wards.

Since Shahida’s representation was not considered by the District Magistrate, Mathura, she had moved to the High Court of Allahabad for redressal of her grievance.

Arguments in the Court from both sides

It was contended before the Court that on account of such restrictions, the people residing in these wards are deprived of their right of choice of meals and also from carrying on their business and livelihood.

It was further argued that the restriction is in violation of Article 19 (1) (g) and Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Additional Adv. General, Manish Goyal assisted by Additional Chief Standing Counsel, A.K. Goyal submitted that Mathura and Vrindavan are prominent places having great historical and religious importance being the birth place and Kreeda Sthal of Lord Krishna.

In support of the state government’s order, the Counsel further submitted that the State Government with a view to maintain the historical, religious, tourism importance and above all the sanctity of the Holy places, the government issued a Notification dated September 10, 2021 declaring 22 Wards of Nagar Nigam Mathura Vrindavan to be "Holy Place of Pilgrimage".

The Counsel further bought the Court’s attention to the fact that the Petitioner had neither challenged the Notification (dated September 10, 2021) issued by the State Government nor the State Government Order (dated September 17, 2021) which imposes restriction on sale of meat, eggs, liquor etc.

In support to his argument that the no fundamental rights of Petitioner have been infringed by imposing reasonable restrictions, the Counsel referred to the case of Darshan Kumar and Ors v/s. The State of U.P. & Anr. (AIR 1997 Alld 209).  In the said case, the reasonable restrictions of Rishikesh Municipality were upheld, and which was also affirmed by the Apex Court in the case of Om Prakash & Ors. v/s. State of U.P. & Ors. reported in 2004 (3) SCC 402.

Court’s Observation

On March 28, 2022, the High Court opined that since there are no averments about the Notification dated September 10, 2021, and the Government Order September 17, 2021 issued by the State Government, the Petitioner was not aggrieved by the same. Hence, the Court did not dwell into the validity of the aforesaid Notification and the Government Order.

The Bench further stated that declaration of any particular place as ‘Holy Place of Pilgrimage’ is the privilege of the State and the same does not mean that any restriction has been imposed and the said act is illegal.

The Bench further stated, “This restriction has been imposed only with respect to 22 Wards and is not applicable to other Wards of the city. Thus, there is no complete ban. The allegation of the petitioner that State Authorities are harassing such consumers of the restricted material (meat, liquor and eggs) in transportation of the same is merely a bald and sweeping statement. No material has been brought on record to substantiate this allegation.”

The Bench also observed that no reliefs were prayed in regard to the violations of the fundamental rights taken up as grounds in the Writ Petition.

However, before dismissing the said plea, the Bench remarked, “India is a Country of great diversity. It is absolutely essential if we wish to keep our Country united to have tolerance and respect for all communities and sects. It was due to the wisdom of our founding fathers that we have a Constitution which is secular in character and which caters to all communities, sects lingual and ethnic groups etc., in the Country. It is the Constitution of India which is keeping us together despite all our tremendous diversity, because the Constitution gives equal respect to all communities, sects, lingual and ethnic groups etc., in the Country.”

The complete order may be read here: 

 

Related:

Ram Navami violence: PILs seek SC monitored investigations, transfer of cases to NIA

Same-sex marriage: Delhi HC asks Central Government to respond to the plea for live-streaming of proceedings

Gujarat HC rules on PASA Act, claims Preventive Detention untenable

Delhi HC asks for Centre’s opinion on declaring the Child Marriage ‘void ab initio’

Allahabad HC bats for tolerance, but refuses to strike down meat and liquor sale ban

The court held that as the ban only applied to 22 wards in Mathura Vrindavan, it was not a complete ban; also claims of harassment were just “bald sweeping statements”

Allahabad HC

On March 28, 2022, the Allahabad High Court dismissed a Writ Petition against the Uttar Pradesh administration for banning the sale of meat and liquor in Mathura-Vrindavan region. However, in a display of appreciation for India’s pluralism the court observed, “India is a country of great diversity. It is absolutely essential if we wish to keep our country united to have tolerance and respect for all communities and sects.”

The High Court bench of Justices Pritinker Diwaker and Ashutosh Srivastava restricted itself from dwelling into the validity of the Notification and Order of the UP Government as the Petition filed does not challenge the same.

Background of the Case

State Government’s Order/Notification

The State Government of Uttar Pradesh under its Notification dated September 10, 2021 had notified 22 wards of Mathura Vrindavan Nagar Nigam as ‘Holy Place of Pilgrimage’. The notification had banned the sale of liquor and meat within a 10 square kilometers radius around Krishna Janmabhoomi in Vrindavan, Mathura.

On September 11, 2021 another consequential Order was passed by the Food Processing Officer, Food Safety and Drugs Administration, Mathura according to which the registration of shops selling meat and non-vegetarian restaurants were suspended with immediate effect.

About the petition

Shahida, a social worker, had filed a Writ Petition, later on styled as Public Interest Litigation (PIL), in High Court of Allahabad against the State Government’s decision to ban the sale of meat and liquor. This PIL was instituted for consideration of the representation (on behalf of the residents of the ward) addressed to the District Magistrate, Mathura.

In her representation she had sought relief against complete ban on running meat, fish, egg shops etc., and also sought relief against suspension of the license of shops, non-veg hotels etc., with immediate effect.

She had also sought directions for permitting easy transportation of such restricted materials from outside for weddings and other ceremonial functions. The representation also prayed that the local police should not harass the people involved in transporting the restricted materials from outside into the said 22 notified wards.

Since Shahida’s representation was not considered by the District Magistrate, Mathura, she had moved to the High Court of Allahabad for redressal of her grievance.

Arguments in the Court from both sides

It was contended before the Court that on account of such restrictions, the people residing in these wards are deprived of their right of choice of meals and also from carrying on their business and livelihood.

It was further argued that the restriction is in violation of Article 19 (1) (g) and Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Additional Adv. General, Manish Goyal assisted by Additional Chief Standing Counsel, A.K. Goyal submitted that Mathura and Vrindavan are prominent places having great historical and religious importance being the birth place and Kreeda Sthal of Lord Krishna.

In support of the state government’s order, the Counsel further submitted that the State Government with a view to maintain the historical, religious, tourism importance and above all the sanctity of the Holy places, the government issued a Notification dated September 10, 2021 declaring 22 Wards of Nagar Nigam Mathura Vrindavan to be "Holy Place of Pilgrimage".

The Counsel further bought the Court’s attention to the fact that the Petitioner had neither challenged the Notification (dated September 10, 2021) issued by the State Government nor the State Government Order (dated September 17, 2021) which imposes restriction on sale of meat, eggs, liquor etc.

In support to his argument that the no fundamental rights of Petitioner have been infringed by imposing reasonable restrictions, the Counsel referred to the case of Darshan Kumar and Ors v/s. The State of U.P. & Anr. (AIR 1997 Alld 209).  In the said case, the reasonable restrictions of Rishikesh Municipality were upheld, and which was also affirmed by the Apex Court in the case of Om Prakash & Ors. v/s. State of U.P. & Ors. reported in 2004 (3) SCC 402.

Court’s Observation

On March 28, 2022, the High Court opined that since there are no averments about the Notification dated September 10, 2021, and the Government Order September 17, 2021 issued by the State Government, the Petitioner was not aggrieved by the same. Hence, the Court did not dwell into the validity of the aforesaid Notification and the Government Order.

The Bench further stated that declaration of any particular place as ‘Holy Place of Pilgrimage’ is the privilege of the State and the same does not mean that any restriction has been imposed and the said act is illegal.

The Bench further stated, “This restriction has been imposed only with respect to 22 Wards and is not applicable to other Wards of the city. Thus, there is no complete ban. The allegation of the petitioner that State Authorities are harassing such consumers of the restricted material (meat, liquor and eggs) in transportation of the same is merely a bald and sweeping statement. No material has been brought on record to substantiate this allegation.”

The Bench also observed that no reliefs were prayed in regard to the violations of the fundamental rights taken up as grounds in the Writ Petition.

However, before dismissing the said plea, the Bench remarked, “India is a Country of great diversity. It is absolutely essential if we wish to keep our Country united to have tolerance and respect for all communities and sects. It was due to the wisdom of our founding fathers that we have a Constitution which is secular in character and which caters to all communities, sects lingual and ethnic groups etc., in the Country. It is the Constitution of India which is keeping us together despite all our tremendous diversity, because the Constitution gives equal respect to all communities, sects, lingual and ethnic groups etc., in the Country.”

The complete order may be read here: 

 

Related:

Ram Navami violence: PILs seek SC monitored investigations, transfer of cases to NIA

Same-sex marriage: Delhi HC asks Central Government to respond to the plea for live-streaming of proceedings

Gujarat HC rules on PASA Act, claims Preventive Detention untenable

Delhi HC asks for Centre’s opinion on declaring the Child Marriage ‘void ab initio’

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Aurangabad: Ram Navami procession shows respect to mosque

While passing by the mosque, DJ turned off the music; Aurangabad’s Hindus take a stand for secularism

12 Apr 2022

Hindu procession

Amidst reports of communal violence during Ram Navami processions, this Aurangabad procession is winning hearts by opting to turn off the music while passing by a nearby masjid.

Music is a favourite part of any religious event. As such, the city’s Ram Navami procession arranged for a DJ with light accompaniment. The crowd danced to the music until the rally reached a local masjid.

In a now viral video, the host of the procession can be heard saying, “For two minutes, the DJ will pause the music. After we pass by the masjid, we will resume the music. There is no problem. We all need to live together to make all religions coexist.”

The video of the announcement was shared on Twitter with captions like, “Here is why #Maharashtra is special. This is my hometown, Aurangabad where this group celebrating Ram Navami, announced that the DJ will stop when we cross the mosque.”

 

 

The decision by the yatra comes at a time when cities in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Goa, Telangana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Bihar and multiple locations in Gujarat reported communal violence on Sunday. In many places, processions deliberately stopped outside local masjids to blare loud music or wave saffron flags at the mosque’s gates.

The procession’s decision along with the deliberate message of secularism emphasises Aurangabad’s plural culture that makes room for all religions.

Related:

Gujarat: Locals blame election politics for Ram Navami violence

Communal confrontations mar Ram Navami celebrations in five states

Sheath the swords, while there is still time!

Rajasthan: All you need to know about the Karauli violence

Aurangabad: Ram Navami procession shows respect to mosque

While passing by the mosque, DJ turned off the music; Aurangabad’s Hindus take a stand for secularism

Hindu procession

Amidst reports of communal violence during Ram Navami processions, this Aurangabad procession is winning hearts by opting to turn off the music while passing by a nearby masjid.

Music is a favourite part of any religious event. As such, the city’s Ram Navami procession arranged for a DJ with light accompaniment. The crowd danced to the music until the rally reached a local masjid.

In a now viral video, the host of the procession can be heard saying, “For two minutes, the DJ will pause the music. After we pass by the masjid, we will resume the music. There is no problem. We all need to live together to make all religions coexist.”

The video of the announcement was shared on Twitter with captions like, “Here is why #Maharashtra is special. This is my hometown, Aurangabad where this group celebrating Ram Navami, announced that the DJ will stop when we cross the mosque.”

 

 

The decision by the yatra comes at a time when cities in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Goa, Telangana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Bihar and multiple locations in Gujarat reported communal violence on Sunday. In many places, processions deliberately stopped outside local masjids to blare loud music or wave saffron flags at the mosque’s gates.

The procession’s decision along with the deliberate message of secularism emphasises Aurangabad’s plural culture that makes room for all religions.

Related:

Gujarat: Locals blame election politics for Ram Navami violence

Communal confrontations mar Ram Navami celebrations in five states

Sheath the swords, while there is still time!

Rajasthan: All you need to know about the Karauli violence

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Vasant More rejects communalism, stands up to Raj Thackeray

Pune’s Katraj Muslims sigh in relief as Corporator Vasant More refuses to follow Thackeray’s instructions to play Hanuman Chalisa outside masjids to protest loudspeakers

08 Apr 2022
Vasant More

Pune Corporator Vasant More has shown spine, and done what has thus far been rare in Maharashtra’s political circles. More stood up to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray and refused to follow his dictat to play Hanuman Chalisa in front of masjids. By rejecting this blatantly communal agenda he has once again inspired trust in secular values and basic human decency. But the decision cost him greatly, as he was removed from his post as City President of the MNS on April 7, 2022.

Around Gudi Padwa, Thackeray demanded that Hindus should put up speakers twice the size of those used at mosques and play Hanuman Chalisa at a loud volume to protest the use of loudspeakers for Azaan (the Muslim call for prayer). While this demand created considerable buzz in the news, former MNS Pune President More refused to follow his leader's advice. Speaking to Maharashtra Times, he said most Muslims in Katraj, the area that he oversees, have supported him since 2007. He considered it a disservice to them to follow such directions where there is no communal sentiment in the region. He asked, “I am connected to these people. How can I blare a horn in front of their houses like this?”

More, who has constructed a big graveyard and hall for the Muslim community in his constituency, said he built good relations with the people over 15 years. Speaking to National Herald he said he has “khalas, chachas and mamus” (uncles and aunts) who support his position in the city administration. These supporters approached More with concerns of Thackeray’s speech, especially in light of Ramzan. Even police officials reportedly asked him about his stand. However, the veteran politician allayed their fears to maintain peace.

By Thursday, More was sacked from his MNS position and replaced with sitting Kondhwa MNS corporator Sainath Babar. Raj Thackeray personally handed over the letter of appointment to him in Mumbai, said reports.

The news displeased More who anyway intended to resign from the party in the coming month. Far from hurting his political career though, he has been receiving offers from various political parties including Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress to jump ship. According to Loksatta, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray personally wanted to talk to him. Yet, as of Thursday, More said he would rather contest as an independent in coming local elections than join a new party.

On Friday, some local media reported that More was in a meeting with Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. However, he said he will give a final decision only after talking to the MNS Chief next week.

Related:

What does Raj Thackeray hope to achieve with his anti-Muslim speech?

Maharashtra: Hindu man offers terrace to Muslims for namaz in Amravati

Are increasing calls for economic boycott of Muslims a sinister precursor to something worse?

Bajrang Muni Das openly threatens Muslim women with sexual assault

 

Vasant More rejects communalism, stands up to Raj Thackeray

Pune’s Katraj Muslims sigh in relief as Corporator Vasant More refuses to follow Thackeray’s instructions to play Hanuman Chalisa outside masjids to protest loudspeakers

Vasant More

Pune Corporator Vasant More has shown spine, and done what has thus far been rare in Maharashtra’s political circles. More stood up to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray and refused to follow his dictat to play Hanuman Chalisa in front of masjids. By rejecting this blatantly communal agenda he has once again inspired trust in secular values and basic human decency. But the decision cost him greatly, as he was removed from his post as City President of the MNS on April 7, 2022.

Around Gudi Padwa, Thackeray demanded that Hindus should put up speakers twice the size of those used at mosques and play Hanuman Chalisa at a loud volume to protest the use of loudspeakers for Azaan (the Muslim call for prayer). While this demand created considerable buzz in the news, former MNS Pune President More refused to follow his leader's advice. Speaking to Maharashtra Times, he said most Muslims in Katraj, the area that he oversees, have supported him since 2007. He considered it a disservice to them to follow such directions where there is no communal sentiment in the region. He asked, “I am connected to these people. How can I blare a horn in front of their houses like this?”

More, who has constructed a big graveyard and hall for the Muslim community in his constituency, said he built good relations with the people over 15 years. Speaking to National Herald he said he has “khalas, chachas and mamus” (uncles and aunts) who support his position in the city administration. These supporters approached More with concerns of Thackeray’s speech, especially in light of Ramzan. Even police officials reportedly asked him about his stand. However, the veteran politician allayed their fears to maintain peace.

By Thursday, More was sacked from his MNS position and replaced with sitting Kondhwa MNS corporator Sainath Babar. Raj Thackeray personally handed over the letter of appointment to him in Mumbai, said reports.

The news displeased More who anyway intended to resign from the party in the coming month. Far from hurting his political career though, he has been receiving offers from various political parties including Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress to jump ship. According to Loksatta, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray personally wanted to talk to him. Yet, as of Thursday, More said he would rather contest as an independent in coming local elections than join a new party.

On Friday, some local media reported that More was in a meeting with Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. However, he said he will give a final decision only after talking to the MNS Chief next week.

Related:

What does Raj Thackeray hope to achieve with his anti-Muslim speech?

Maharashtra: Hindu man offers terrace to Muslims for namaz in Amravati

Are increasing calls for economic boycott of Muslims a sinister precursor to something worse?

Bajrang Muni Das openly threatens Muslim women with sexual assault

 

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Is This the Islam of Prophet Mohammad, a Blessing to Mankind?

Moderate ulema, from whichever sect, must realise the need to introspect deeply and honestly and go far beyond their present positions, if they are serious about rescuing Islam from extremism

28 Mar 2022

Islam
Image Courtesy:sundayguardianlive.com

Is this Islam? Could this be the Islam of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) who was sent as a blessing for mankind? Could Islam convert a British-born into a mass killer of his own people, plowing a car into innocent pedestrians, as happened this week in a London attack on British Parliament?

Questions like this are asked everytime there is an Islamist terrorist outrage. This question was asked recently in India when a young radicalised Muslim Saifullah was killed in Lucknow, preferring what he called “martyrdom” to life, despite hours long pleadings of his brother as well as a cleric and other elders.

The same question was put in an even more poignant scene by a lady in Peshawar, crying over the blood-spattered dead bodies of her school-going children in December 2014. The proud killers of 132 innocent children and scores of female teachers were the Pakistan Taliban, students of Islamic madrasas, supposedly well-versed in the teachings of Islam. The Taliban claim to kill in the name of Islam. They claim to glorify Islam by doing so. They believe they are trying to establish the sovereignty of Allah over the world.  So, the question is inevitable. Is this Islam, indeed?

Only a fortnight ago, I was forced to ask this question in a slightly different mode. Is this pure Islam or true Islam, as Salafis, Wahhabis claim? Not for the first, nor for the last time, to be sure, over hundred devotees of Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sindh, Pakistan, had been killed in the name of what Salafi-Wahhabis consider true, pure Islam. Salafi-Wahhabis abhor Sufism because they believe that Sufi practices resemble pre-Islamic polytheistic Hindu traditions. Any Muslim who strays from the path of what Salafis consider true Islam is an apostate and deserves to be killed. The murderer has been brainwashed by Wahhabi ulema into believing that he can be assured of a place in heaven if he kills apostates and kuffars.

Questions galore. But no real answers. Sufism-oriented Ulema and Mashaikh in India and the Sahel region of Africa are becoming more and more vociferous in denouncing Wahhabism-Salafism. No doubt Islamist terrorism is a result of the indoctrination of sections of Muslims by Wahhabi-Salafi ulema around the world. This has been possible owing to the induction of tens of billions of Saudi petrodollars over the last 40 years. Even after 9/11, in which 16 of the 19 terrorists were products of Saudi education system, the West has allowed Saudi Arabia to continue spending billions in the propagation of an extremist, desiccated version of Isam, shorn of all its beauty and benevolence.

So it is good that Sufi ulema, under attack from Wahhabi militants, are coming out to denounce the Salafi understanding of Islam. But is this enough? Do they not need to ask why it’s Salafis who are winning this ideological war? Have Sufi ulema been able to bring back to the Sufi fold even a single Islamist terrorist? After all, all the terrorists of today, at least from the South Asian and African Sahel region were part of a Sufism-oriented Islam until recently. Wahhabism existed mainly in the Arab regions. There were very few Salafis anywhere else. Easy availability of petrodollars for the propagation of Salafism has certainly played an important role. But can money alone bring about this kind of transformation? Why is the Sufi counter-narrative not effective enough to make a difference?

Writing in this space, almost exactly a year ago, I had made an earnest appeal to the Sufi Ulema and Mashaikh gathering in Delhi for an international conference. I had asked them to go beyond the usual shibboleths and utilse this great opportunity to consider this most urgent question: why is the Sufi focus on positives of Islam not working? The more Sufis and other moderate Muslims denounce terrorism, the more followers this Satanic ideology finds. I had pointed out the basic reason behind this conundrum: the radical theology of violence and exclusion and the current theology of consensus of all ulema, including Sufi ulema, are by and large one and the same. Any differences are cosmetic. ISIS and other terroist organisations may be militarily defeated tomorrow but the problem of radicalisation and violent extremism in Islam will still remain. Islam supremacism, xenophobia, intolerance and exclusivism as well as gender inequality are inherent in the current Islamic, including Sufi, theology. It is this that should concern us most.

I had an opportunity on the eve of that last March’s conclave in Delhi to meet Maulana Tahirul Qadri, a Sufi-Barelvi scholar from Pakistan, renowned for his 600-page fatwa against Islamist terrorism. I asked him two questions. One: are holy Quran’s war-time instructions, intolerant and xenophobic in nature, still applicable to us Muslims in the 2st cenury, though we could not be possibly fighting 7th century wars of the Prophet’s time? His answer: There are no intolerant verses in Quran and yes, all of them are applicable to us for ever. My second question was: by quoting a profusion of ahadith (plural of hadith, so-called sayings of the prophet) in your presentation, and considering them akin to revelation, are you weakening Khalifa Baghdadi’s terrorist ideology, which is largely based on ahadith, or strengtening it? He remained silent.

There is a hadith, according to which Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) himself ordered his followers to attack a town called Taif by showering stones with Minjaneeq (i.e. a catapult) despite the possibility of innocent civilians being killed.  When a companion ponted out that this could result in civilian killing, the Prophet is supposed to have said: “They are also from them.”  A Taliban scholar, under interrorgtion from a Pakistan Army officer, quoted this hadith to justify terrorism. Having watched the video on internet, I asked an Indian Sufi scholar, if the Prophet, in his view, could have said something that contradicts several verses of Quran and his own previous statements.  He simply said: “I have checked, this hadith is in the sihah-e-sitta (six so-called authentic books of ahadith including Bukhari and Muslim).” To all my questioning, if this meant, he believed that the Prophet himself justified killing of civilians, the Sufi scholar just remained silent. So, regardless of what your rationality may tell you, hadith, as collected even centuries after the Prophet’s demise, in the age of Arab imperialism, is believed to be akin to revelation and cannot be questioned.

It is this thinking on the part of all our ulema, of whatever school of thought, that must change, if we are going to fight violent extemism in Islam. Sufi fulminations against Wahhabism-Salafism are hypocritical until the core of their theologies remains the same. It is sheer hypocrisy to quote peaceful, pluralistic verses of Quran and teach in a madrasa books like Tafsir-e-Jalalain which say that these verses have been abrogated by later war-time verses asking Muslims to kill the kafir wherever they are found.

The fact is these verses were meant for a particular situation and do not apply to us any more. Similarly many ahadith were concocted to justify imperialist, expansionist wars fought by monarchical, dynastic khalifas, in the name of Islam. It is irrational to call them akin to revelation. The same holds true of Sharia that was first codified 120 years after the demise of the prophet and has been changing since from time to time and place to place. It simply cannot be considered divine. These aspects of the consensus core theology of Islam constitutes the root of the problem.

Clearly, moderate ulema, from whichever sect, must realise the need to introspect deeply and honestly and go far beyond their present positions, if they are serious about rescuing Islam from extremism. This should not be a sectarian endeavour. There are Muslims in all sects who want to live in peace and favour pluralism. They all need to get together and brainstorm.

Sultan Shahin is the Founding Editor of a Delhi-based progressive Islamic website, NewAgeIslam.com. He can be reached at sultan.shahin@gmail.com

(This article first appeared in The Sunday Guardian, New Delhi, on 26 March 2017)

Is This the Islam of Prophet Mohammad, a Blessing to Mankind?

Moderate ulema, from whichever sect, must realise the need to introspect deeply and honestly and go far beyond their present positions, if they are serious about rescuing Islam from extremism

Islam
Image Courtesy:sundayguardianlive.com

Is this Islam? Could this be the Islam of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) who was sent as a blessing for mankind? Could Islam convert a British-born into a mass killer of his own people, plowing a car into innocent pedestrians, as happened this week in a London attack on British Parliament?

Questions like this are asked everytime there is an Islamist terrorist outrage. This question was asked recently in India when a young radicalised Muslim Saifullah was killed in Lucknow, preferring what he called “martyrdom” to life, despite hours long pleadings of his brother as well as a cleric and other elders.

The same question was put in an even more poignant scene by a lady in Peshawar, crying over the blood-spattered dead bodies of her school-going children in December 2014. The proud killers of 132 innocent children and scores of female teachers were the Pakistan Taliban, students of Islamic madrasas, supposedly well-versed in the teachings of Islam. The Taliban claim to kill in the name of Islam. They claim to glorify Islam by doing so. They believe they are trying to establish the sovereignty of Allah over the world.  So, the question is inevitable. Is this Islam, indeed?

Only a fortnight ago, I was forced to ask this question in a slightly different mode. Is this pure Islam or true Islam, as Salafis, Wahhabis claim? Not for the first, nor for the last time, to be sure, over hundred devotees of Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sindh, Pakistan, had been killed in the name of what Salafi-Wahhabis consider true, pure Islam. Salafi-Wahhabis abhor Sufism because they believe that Sufi practices resemble pre-Islamic polytheistic Hindu traditions. Any Muslim who strays from the path of what Salafis consider true Islam is an apostate and deserves to be killed. The murderer has been brainwashed by Wahhabi ulema into believing that he can be assured of a place in heaven if he kills apostates and kuffars.

Questions galore. But no real answers. Sufism-oriented Ulema and Mashaikh in India and the Sahel region of Africa are becoming more and more vociferous in denouncing Wahhabism-Salafism. No doubt Islamist terrorism is a result of the indoctrination of sections of Muslims by Wahhabi-Salafi ulema around the world. This has been possible owing to the induction of tens of billions of Saudi petrodollars over the last 40 years. Even after 9/11, in which 16 of the 19 terrorists were products of Saudi education system, the West has allowed Saudi Arabia to continue spending billions in the propagation of an extremist, desiccated version of Isam, shorn of all its beauty and benevolence.

So it is good that Sufi ulema, under attack from Wahhabi militants, are coming out to denounce the Salafi understanding of Islam. But is this enough? Do they not need to ask why it’s Salafis who are winning this ideological war? Have Sufi ulema been able to bring back to the Sufi fold even a single Islamist terrorist? After all, all the terrorists of today, at least from the South Asian and African Sahel region were part of a Sufism-oriented Islam until recently. Wahhabism existed mainly in the Arab regions. There were very few Salafis anywhere else. Easy availability of petrodollars for the propagation of Salafism has certainly played an important role. But can money alone bring about this kind of transformation? Why is the Sufi counter-narrative not effective enough to make a difference?

Writing in this space, almost exactly a year ago, I had made an earnest appeal to the Sufi Ulema and Mashaikh gathering in Delhi for an international conference. I had asked them to go beyond the usual shibboleths and utilse this great opportunity to consider this most urgent question: why is the Sufi focus on positives of Islam not working? The more Sufis and other moderate Muslims denounce terrorism, the more followers this Satanic ideology finds. I had pointed out the basic reason behind this conundrum: the radical theology of violence and exclusion and the current theology of consensus of all ulema, including Sufi ulema, are by and large one and the same. Any differences are cosmetic. ISIS and other terroist organisations may be militarily defeated tomorrow but the problem of radicalisation and violent extremism in Islam will still remain. Islam supremacism, xenophobia, intolerance and exclusivism as well as gender inequality are inherent in the current Islamic, including Sufi, theology. It is this that should concern us most.

I had an opportunity on the eve of that last March’s conclave in Delhi to meet Maulana Tahirul Qadri, a Sufi-Barelvi scholar from Pakistan, renowned for his 600-page fatwa against Islamist terrorism. I asked him two questions. One: are holy Quran’s war-time instructions, intolerant and xenophobic in nature, still applicable to us Muslims in the 2st cenury, though we could not be possibly fighting 7th century wars of the Prophet’s time? His answer: There are no intolerant verses in Quran and yes, all of them are applicable to us for ever. My second question was: by quoting a profusion of ahadith (plural of hadith, so-called sayings of the prophet) in your presentation, and considering them akin to revelation, are you weakening Khalifa Baghdadi’s terrorist ideology, which is largely based on ahadith, or strengtening it? He remained silent.

There is a hadith, according to which Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) himself ordered his followers to attack a town called Taif by showering stones with Minjaneeq (i.e. a catapult) despite the possibility of innocent civilians being killed.  When a companion ponted out that this could result in civilian killing, the Prophet is supposed to have said: “They are also from them.”  A Taliban scholar, under interrorgtion from a Pakistan Army officer, quoted this hadith to justify terrorism. Having watched the video on internet, I asked an Indian Sufi scholar, if the Prophet, in his view, could have said something that contradicts several verses of Quran and his own previous statements.  He simply said: “I have checked, this hadith is in the sihah-e-sitta (six so-called authentic books of ahadith including Bukhari and Muslim).” To all my questioning, if this meant, he believed that the Prophet himself justified killing of civilians, the Sufi scholar just remained silent. So, regardless of what your rationality may tell you, hadith, as collected even centuries after the Prophet’s demise, in the age of Arab imperialism, is believed to be akin to revelation and cannot be questioned.

It is this thinking on the part of all our ulema, of whatever school of thought, that must change, if we are going to fight violent extemism in Islam. Sufi fulminations against Wahhabism-Salafism are hypocritical until the core of their theologies remains the same. It is sheer hypocrisy to quote peaceful, pluralistic verses of Quran and teach in a madrasa books like Tafsir-e-Jalalain which say that these verses have been abrogated by later war-time verses asking Muslims to kill the kafir wherever they are found.

The fact is these verses were meant for a particular situation and do not apply to us any more. Similarly many ahadith were concocted to justify imperialist, expansionist wars fought by monarchical, dynastic khalifas, in the name of Islam. It is irrational to call them akin to revelation. The same holds true of Sharia that was first codified 120 years after the demise of the prophet and has been changing since from time to time and place to place. It simply cannot be considered divine. These aspects of the consensus core theology of Islam constitutes the root of the problem.

Clearly, moderate ulema, from whichever sect, must realise the need to introspect deeply and honestly and go far beyond their present positions, if they are serious about rescuing Islam from extremism. This should not be a sectarian endeavour. There are Muslims in all sects who want to live in peace and favour pluralism. They all need to get together and brainstorm.

Sultan Shahin is the Founding Editor of a Delhi-based progressive Islamic website, NewAgeIslam.com. He can be reached at sultan.shahin@gmail.com

(This article first appeared in The Sunday Guardian, New Delhi, on 26 March 2017)

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