Lucknow: With Gorakhnath Math and Mathura’s Shri Krishna Janmasthan temple leading by example, temples and mosques across Uttar Pradesh are either doing away with some of the loudspeakers atop them, or are ensuring that lower decibel levels are maintained, under strict enforcement by the state police.
The development comes a week after UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said in a review meeting of law and order with senior officials that loudspeakers should not inconvenience others and the state home department issued instructions to this affect.
Speaking to the ThePrint, ADG (law and order) Prashant Kumar said an order was issued by the home department Saturday directing that it be ensured that all religious places maintain lower decibel levels. “A committee is monitoring the same,” he added.
In a bid to ensure compliance, the UP Police have been busy holding meetings with religious leaders and administrative heads of temples and mosques across the state, including districts like Prayagraj, Meerut, Kanpur, Varanasi, etc.
CM Adityanath had said that while everyone was free to follow religious traditions according to their ideologies, “microphones can be used wherever they have been in use with prior permission, but it should be ensured that the volume from the mic should not come out from the premises”.
Also read: Yogi 2.0 is trying to do what Modi did after Gujarat 2002. But it’s not an easy task
Decibel meters in hands, police undertake surveys
The UP government directed all district police chiefs to ensure that officers check the decibel levels outside religious places and those loudspeakers which have been put up in unauthorised manner be removed after communication and coordination with religious leaders.
Saturday’s circular also directed the police to ensure that illegal loudspeakers which had been put up on the premises of religious places would be removed, after establishing communication and coordination with religious leaders.
“It is further directed that a list be prepared of such religious places where the said rules and orders are not being complied with. A weekly analysis be done and the first report be shared with the government by divisional commissioners at the division level and police commissioners at the commissionerate level,” it said.
Soon after, police officers started visiting religious places with decibel meters in hand, making rounds outside temples and masjids, and checking levels in the areas surrounding the sites.
Visuals from some of the districts came to the fore Sunday. In Gautam Buddh Nagar, police officers could be seen measuring the noise level.
In districts where the UP Police are known to have more resources, officers are in possession of decibel meters, which they use to check the levels in different “zones”, according to the rules laid down by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which has defined permissible limits for different zones.
Gautam Buddh Nagar DCP (traffic) Ganesh Saha, who is the nodal officer for the implementation of directions in Noida-Greater Noida, told ThePrint that there are four zones, namely, industrial area, commercial area, residential area and silence zone.
“The decibel levels mandated are different during the day and the night. The different zones are identified as the area outside immediate premises of a public place,” he said.
The decibel levels mandated in an industrial area are 75 dBA in the day and 70 dBA at night; in commercial area, they are 65 dBA in the day and 55 dBA at night; in residential area, 55 dBA in the day and 45 dBA at night; and in the silence zone, 50 dBA in the day and 40 dBA at night, informed traffic police officials.
Temples take lead, mosques too ensure compliance
Soon after Adityanath’s directions, loudspeakers on the spire of Shri Krishna Janmasthan went silent while those on the premises of the Gorakhnath temple were turned away from the roads, localities and public places located near the site. The UP CM is the head priest of the Gorakhnath Temple Trust.
The Shahi Idgah of Mathura also removed one loudspeaker, and lowered the volume of two others installed at the mosque’s gate.
Islamic clerics in Lucknow, which has about 1,500 Sunni and Shia mosques, said they had accepted the government order and about 60 per cent mosques in the city were already limiting the sound of loudspeakers such that it may not come out of the premises.
Maulana Saif Abbas Naqvi, president of Markazi Shia Chand Committee, told ThePrint that the community has supported the government’s direction because it was for all the religions and the sound will be kept at “zero plus”.
“The orders are being followed by 60 per cent of mosques. Those which are not following are doing it out of negligence,” he said.
In Jaunpur, locals and the police have removed loudspeakers atop about a dozen temples and mosques so far in compliance with the government order.
(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)
Also read: Ministry of all things secret: UP’s Confidential department gets fresh thrust under Yogi 2.0