Centre should come up with rules for loudspeakers at religious places, says Maharashtra govt after all-party meeting

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The Maharashtra government asked the Centre to come up with rules for the use of loudspeakers at religious places across the country after the all-party meeting convened to discuss the issue Monday. It also said that a delegation will go to meet the Centre’s representatives to discuss the issue.

After the meeting, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil addressed the media along with Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray. “We request the Centre to come up with a law that will be applicable across the country. It will ensure that situations like these do not arise anywhere in the country,” Walse-Patil said.

Thackeray said: “It was also decided at the meeting that a delegation from the state will meet the central government and hold discussions on the issue of the use of loudspeakers.”

Walse-Patil further said that the state government cannot remove loudspeakers that have been installed at religious places and only those people who have put up loudspeakers can decide on the issue.

“The Supreme Court gave guidelines on the issue in 2005 and later between 2015 and 2017, the Maharashtra government came out with circulars regarding the same. And it is based on these circulars that the loudspeakers have been operating in the state.”

Walse-Patil further said that if they decide to restrict the use of loudspeakers in mosques, then they would also have to consider its impact on the use of loudspeakers during bhajans, kirtans, Ganpati processions and Navratri. “There cannot be separate rules for people belonging to different communities,” the home minister said.

He added: “Maintaining law and order is the responsibility of the state. If anyone tries to disrupt the law and order, we will have to take necessary action. Based on our discussion in the meeting, it was agreed that the priority was to maintain peace and harmony in the society.”

The all-party meeting was, however, skipped by Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray who had objected to loudspeakers being used by mosques.

Meanwhile, Fadnavis said at a press conference: “When the CM (Uddhav Thackeray) himself is not attending the all-party meeting then there is no point to the meeting. It is just an eyewash.”

Last week, Walse-Patil had announced that before deciding on the policy for loudspeakers at religious places said that the government would conduct an all-party meeting and invite leaders like Raj Thackeray who had raised objections.



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