Right wing activists detained in Bengaluru over Azaan row

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Hanuman chalisa was being played on loudspeakers to counter Azaan

Bengaluru police has detained right wing activists who played hanuman chalisa at 5 a.m. in the morning. This comes after Sri Ram Sene Chief, Pramod Muthalik called to play devotional hymns to counter Azaan, an Islamic call for prayer.

Kumar Mahadevaih, a police sub inspector said, “We have detained 16 people at 5 a.m., it is a preventive arrest. It is a precautionary measure; they will be released and no case has been registered.” The activists have been detained by the Ashok Nagar Police Station.

Devotional hymns were played in different places of Karnataka, including Bengaluru, Belagavi, Dharwad, Kalaburgi, Mysuru and Mandya, according to the police.

Muthalik played hanuman chalisa on loudspeaker and was seen performing suprabhat aarti in Mysuru. He had previously said that the Sene members will start playing devotional hymns on loudspeakers in temples if the state government does not take action about the loudspeakers installed in mosques, reports said. He also urged Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai and Home Minister Araga Jnanendra to show “guts” like Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath by removing unauthorized loudspeakers from religious places, according to reports.

Previously, Raj Thackery, leader of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had said that if the police does not take assurance from all maulvis about not using loudspeakers for Azaan, party members will recite hanuman chalisa in front of police stations.

Recently, Supreme Court reiterated its stance from 2005 judgement on loudspeakers in religious spaces. The court said, “Noise interferes with the fundamental right of citizens to live in peace and to protect themselves against forced audience…we are not concerned with any religion or religious practices…” 

Amidst this, Pramod Muthalik is also being accused of inciting communal unrest by Karnataka Christian Social Welfare Association(KCSWA). Harry D’Souza, the founder of KCSWA said that they demand the arrest of Pramod Muthalik under the Goonda Act and a ban on Sri Ram Sene party.

Muthalik and his Sene members have been accused of making baseless allegations against the Christian community. They have allegedly accused the Christian community of vandalizing idols and forceful conversion to Christianity.