Lucknow: A letter, written by Allahabad University Vice-Chancellor to Prayagraj DM around two weeks ago, has kicked up a storm in the social circles as it is a complaint about an alleged "noise" emanating from a mosque situated in the vicinity of her residence in the Civil Lines area of the city causing noise pollution.
The letter with the subject mentioned as "Noise Pollution in the Civil Lines, Prayagraj" was written on March 3 by Prof Sangeeta Srivastava, the recently-appointed VC of Allahabad University. She had addressed the letter to Allahabad DM Bhanu Chandra Goswami expressing her grievance and demanding its redressal.
In her letter, the V-C has also raised the issue of a sehri call during Ramzan from the mosque at 4 am. She also shared about the morning Azaan (the call to prayers at 5.30 am). She complains that the azaan “results in a headache, throughout the day, causing losses in work hours”.
"The sleep is so disturbed that it does not resume even after trying very hard. This also results in headaches throughout the day, causing losses in working hours," the letter read.
"An old adage -- 'your freedom ends where my nose begins' -- holds true here. I am not against any religion, caste, or creed. They may perform the Azaan without the mike so that others are not disturbed. Even before Eid, they announce Sehri on the mike at 4.00 am. This practice also creates a disturbance to other people. The constitution of India envisages a secular and peaceful co-existence of all communities which needs to be practiced in letter and spirit," says the letter.
A top police official in Prayagraj confirmed they have received the letter. Prayagraj IG KP Singh said that the letter had reached his notice.
“Supreme Court guidelines say that say noise pollution is not permissible between 10 pm to 6 am and no announcements are permitted using public address systems. If this is happening there should be specific permission or else action will be taken. We are studying the letter and will take action to uphold the orders of the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court," said the IG while interacting with media persons.
The V-C also referred to an Allahabad High Court judgment in a PIL filed by Ghazipur MP Afzal Ansari and two others.
In May last year, the court had said that while azan (call to prayer) “may be an essential and integral part of”, its recitation “through loudspeakers or other sound-amplifying devices cannot be said to be an integral part of the religion, warranting protection of the fundamental right enshrined under Article 25 of the Constitution of India, which is even otherwise subject to public order, morality or health and to other provisions” of Part III of the Constitution.
The V-C’s letter sought a “quick response” from the administration and said, “A quick response from you will be highly appreciated and will restore some peace and tranquility in the minds of all suffering from this loud Azan.”
In response to the letter written by the AU V-C, Prayagraj police approached the said mosque and got the volume of the mike reduced so that it did not hinder the sleep of the residents of the Civil Lines area.
Meanwhile, the VC came under strong criticism from a prominent Lucknow-based Muslim cleric. In a video message, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, a member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, condemned the VC's letter in strong terms.