Allahabad University Vice Chancellor Sangita Srivastava has complained about the “noise” caused due to azaan, the call to prayers in Islam, from a mosque in the locality where she lives in Prayagraj, NDTV reported on Wednesday.
“The sleep [gets] so disturbed [that it] does not resume even after trying very hard,” she wrote in a letter to the district magistrate of Prayagraj, dated March 3. “This also results in a headache throughout the day, causing losses in working hours.”
Srivastava claimed that she was not against any religion or caste and suggested that the call for prayer be issued without a mic so that other people are not disturbed.
Srivastava also complained about the announcement of Sehri, the morning meal consumed by Muslims in the month of Ramzan. “This practice also creates a disturbance to other people,” she added, according to NDTV. “The constitution of India envisages a secular and peaceful co-existence of all communities, which needs to be practiced in letter and spirit.”
Srivastava cited an Allahabad High Court judgement from 2020 that said azaan was an essential part of Islam, but not its recitation through the use of loudspeakers. She appealed to the district magistrate to “restore some peace and tranquility” in the minds of people suffering due to the loud call for prayer, The Hindu reported.
Prayagraj Inspector General of Police Kavindra Pratap Singh told NDTV that the police were looking at Srivastava’s letter and would take action if they found that court guidelines on limiting noise pollution were being flouted.
The vice chancellor’s letter was criticised by Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, a member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, according to NDTV. “She should be aware that our country is known for Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb [Ganga-Yamuna culture] and everyone respects each other’s religion and that is why ‘azaan’ from mosques and sounds of ‘bhajan kirtan’ from temples have not caused disturbance to anyone’s sleep,” he said.
Mahali added that mosques were adhering to the orders of the Allahabad High Court. He urged people to respect the religious sentiments of others.