Karnataka Waqf Board’s circular barring loudspeakers in mosques from 10 pm to 6 am evokes mixed response

News Network
March 17, 2021

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Bengaluru, Mar 17: In an order with far-reaching implications, the Karnataka State Board of Auqaf has issued a circular to all the mosques and dargahs (mausoleums) in the state not to use loudspeakers between 10 pm and 6 am, saying the ambient noise level around these structures has "deleterious effects on human health and the psychological well-being of people".

In the circular dated March 9, the board said, "The loudspeakers shall not be used at night time, which shall mean from 10 pm to 6 am."

Further underlining the "silence zones", the circular said any violation will be liable for the penalty.

"The areas comprising not less than 100 metres around hospitals, educational institutions and courts are declared as silence zones.

"Whoever uses sound amplifier or burst sound-emitting firecrackers, uses a loudspeaker or public address system in a silence zone is liable for penalty under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act-1986," the circular read.

These decisions were taken at the board's 327th meeting held on December 19, 2020, regarding strict adherence to the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 in Karnataka and "it unanimously resolved to create awareness amongst the managements of Masjids and Dargahs".

"It is observed that increasing the ambient noise level around many a Masjid and Dargahs due to generator sets, loudspeakers and public address systems have deleterious effects on human health and the psychological well-being of people," the order noted.

The board reminded the mutawallis and managing committees of the mosques and dargahs that it had issued a circular on July 10, 2017 (when Siddaramaiah headed the Congress government in Karnataka) to follow the ambient noise standards in accordance with the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.

The circular said that loudspeakers should be used only for "azan" and other important announcements, whereas the congregational Salat, Jumma Qutba, Bayans, religious socio-cultural and knowledge-based functions shall be performed with the speakers installed on the premises of the mosques and dargahs.

The noise-governing apparatus may be installed in the institutions in consultation with the local environment officers.

The Khateeb O Imam of Bengaluru's Jamia Masjid, Maqsood Imran, told media that he too has received the circular. He added that they have spoken to the CEO of the board about revising the circular since the morning "azan" is an important one.

He shared a letter written by Waqf Board member and MLA Tanveer Sait to the CEO of the board.

In the letter, Sait said, "As the board is an autonomous body, keeping this instruction in the view, you are hereby directed to issue an amended circular at the earliest, considering sunrise timings and use of loudspeakers sensibly between 10 pm to 5 am as the holy month of Ramzan is fast approaching."

Former chairman of the state Waqf Board Anwar Manippady told the press, "It is a great step towards amiability in the society between the two communities -- minorities and majorities."

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News Network
January 28,2023

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Hassan, Jan 28: There seems to be a conundrum within the JD(S) and its 'first family' led by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda over selection of the party candidate to Hassan assembly segment for the upcoming Karnataka polls.

The seat is turning out to be a major bone of contention, as Gowda's daughter-in-law Bhavani Revanna, who had thrown her hat in the ring, has not relented, despite JD(S) legislature party leader and her brother-in-law H D Kumaraswamy making it clear that she will not be fielded.

Bhavani Revanna, a former Hassan zilla panchayat member, is the wife of Kumaraswamy's elder brother and former minister H D Revanna. Two days after Bhavani Revanna publicly claimed that her name had been finalised by the party for the Hassan seat and a formal announcement will be made soon, Kumaraswamy on January 25 said her contest was not necessary there (in the constituency) as the party has a capable candidate.

JD(S), which has already announced a list of 93 candidates for the assembly polls due by May, is yet to finalise one for Hassan constituency. Hassan is the home district of Deve Gowda and the party in 2018 assembly polls had won in six out of seven segments other than the Hassan seat, which BJP's Preetham Gowda secured, making it the first ever win for the saffron party in the Vokkaliga-dominated district.

Despite Kumaraswamy's statement, according to party sources, Bhavani Revanna has not backed down and continued her tour in the constituency as she took part in a temple event on Friday. Some sources even said the Hassan candidate issue has now reached JD(S) patriarch Deve Gowda, who will now have the final say on the matter.

Bhavani's husband H D Revanna's conspicuous silence on the developments has led to some amount of speculation about the predicament within the Gowda family on the issue. Though Revanna's elder son and Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna had, soon after his mother's claim to be the candidate, maintained that Deve Gowda will decide and everyone will abide by it, he hasn't reacted after Kumaraswamy's statement that she will not be the candidate.

When reporters tried to speak to her after the temple event, Bhavani Revanna said she did not wish to give any reaction for now. "Let whoever say anything, I will not react... I will not speak politics, I have come here for worship... I don't know much about the developments as of now. Let's see in the days to come," she said.

When a question was put to her that people had a desire that she should contest from the seat, Bhavani said: "Let's see in the future how the god's and everyone's grace will be... Let's see, I will speak in the future." As she served food to people who attended the temple event, announcements were made on the loudspeaker calling her "Next MLA Bhavani Amma".

Kumaraswamy on Thursday and Friday too reiterated his stand making it clear that when there is a "capable" candidate in a constituency, there is no question of imposing someone from the Gowda family. "Why are you (media) in a confusion on this, I have already said...our family members will contest where we don't have a capable candidate, to protect the interest of our workers. Where there are suitable candidates, such a need won't be there. If such a situation comes, I will tell you," he told reporters on Friday.

Stating that he has said what he had to regarding the Hassan ticket issue and that the rest will sit in the family and decide within the party framework, Kumaraswamy said, "Ultimately Deve Gowda is the one who issues the B-form for the candidate. There is a parliamentary board and there are leaders," he said, rejecting any misunderstanding or conflict within the family.

"Everything will be resolved smoothly," he added. H P Swaroop, a former Hassan zilla panchayat vice-president and son of former MLA late H S Prakash, is said to be the "capable candidate", whom Kumaraswamy is keen to field.

Swaroop too has been visiting villages along with his supporters. Stating that he is trying to get a ticket from JD(S), Swaroop earlier this week said "there seems to be confusion among people and workers following this announcement by Bhavani Revanna, but I'm saying let the ticket be officially declared..." He said that he has high regards for Deve Gowda and Revanna, and there is no question of him looking at an option of going to another party.

Meanwhile, taking a dig at the JD(S) on the whole issue, BJP national general secretary C T Ravi mockingly said he has a desire to invite Bhavani Revanna to contest from Holenarasipur (her husband Revanna's seat) on the party's ticket. "I have seen Bhavani Revanna's statement, also Kumaraswamy's. I don't want to create a rift within the family, or else I had a desire to tell Bhavani akka (elder sister) that there is no better candidate than her for Holenarasipur and become a candidate for the seat from our party. But I don't want to create a fight between Revanna and Bhavani akka, so I won't say anything," he said.

Asked about C T Ravi's statement, Bhavani Revanna said, "You (media) should ask him, I don't know about it..." Kumaraswamy, in response to Ravi's statement, said the BJP is "used to dividing the house". "They are someone who divide the country. Won't they look for dividing a house? But they won't be able to divide Deve Gowda's house, they might be thinking they can, but it is not possible. They cannot divide us," the former chief minister said.

Some political observers are of the opinion that the perception about JD(S) being too family centric is one of its major drawbacks. According to JD(S) sources, Kumaraswamy wants to beat this perception. It is with this intention that he had tried to justify his earlier decisions to give ticket to his wife Anitha Kumaraswamy to contest polls in 2008, 2013 and 2018 by citing lack of suitable candidate, party pride and demand by workers as the reason for her contesting the seat, while denying the same for Bhavani.

However, he has already announced his son Nikhil Kumaraswamy as the candidate from Ramanagara for the assembly polls. Eight members of Gowda's immediate family are in active politics. Gowda, who is the JD(S) supremo, is also Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, while his son Kumaraswamy is a former chief minister and sitting MLA from Channapatna. Kumaraswamy's wife Anitha is MLA from Ramanagara segment, and his son Nikhil, who is the JD(S) youth wing president, had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Mandya.

The party supremo's elder son H D Revanna is a former minister and current MLA from Holenarsipura, his wife Bhavani Revanna was a member of the Hassan Zilla Panchayat, and their sons Prajwal and Suraj are MP from Hassan and an MLC, respectively. The Gowda family has its representation in all the four major houses of public representatives - Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.

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News Network
January 27,2023

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Bengaluru, Jan 27: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai appeared to have lost his cool as he snatched a microphone from the hands of a seer seated beside him during a public event on Thursday in Bengaluru's Mahadevapura to respond to criticism.

During the event, seer Eshwaranandapuri Swami raised the issue of flooding and poor infrastructure in the constituency and blamed politicians for the trouble.

Bommai responded saying that he is not someone who only gives assurances but someone gets work done. He added that he has released funds to find a solution to these problems.

A few months back, the residents of Mahadevapura were ravaged by floods following heavy rainfall affecting normal life. 

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News Network
January 28,2023

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Udupi, Jan 28: The Parashuram theme park, with a 33-foot-bronze statue of Lord Parashuram, was inaugurated atop Umikal hill at Bailur in Karnataka's Udupi district by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

Speaking after the inauguration on Friday evening in Karkala taluk, the chief minister said a masterplan will be drawn to promote culture and temple tourism in coastal Karnataka. Bommai said the coastal region has immense potential for attracting tourists and the government is chalking out a number of schemes to promote tourism.

The government aims to bring in overall development in the region by developing ports and roads. The government does not want to offer promises on packages, but is trying to improve the lives of the people, he said.

Bommai added that the inauguration of the park is historic as Lord Parashuram is said to be the creator of Tulunadu. He was brave and strong and received the blessings of Lord Shiva, the chief minister said. 

State Minister for Kannada and Culture V Sunil Kumar, who represents Karkala in the assembly, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Shobha Karandlaje who represents Udupi-Chikkamagaluru in the Lok Sabha, Fisheries Minister S Angara, MLAs Lalji Mendon and Raghupati Bhat and noted actor Rishabh Shetty were present on the occasion.

The Parashuram statue installed atop Umikal hill in Bailur, located by the side of National Highway between Udupi and Karkala, is already attracting thousands of tourists from various parts of the country. The theme park has a bhajan mandir, museum, open air amphitheatre, drawings depicting life of Lord Parashuram, audio-visual gallery and a restaurant. The park was set up by the Nirmiti Kendra in Udupi district.

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