The Delhi Police issued a clarification after an incident on Friday where two policemen in Delhi could be heard telling Muslim women that they couldn’t offer Azaan in a Masjid in the wake of the nationwide lockdown imposed to combat the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic. The Delhi Police has said in a statement that “Azaan may be carried out in accordance with NGT guidelines” and Muslims were requested to offer their Namaz while staying indoors and have Sehri at home.
The statement was released by the Delhi Police after the video of an altercation between Muslim women and two Policemen went viral on social media. In the said video, the Muslim women claim that five people are allowed to perform Namaz in the Masjid and insist that Azaan be allowed to be carried out. The Policemen are heard saying in the video that Azaan could not be carried out in the Masjid. One of the women asks, “If Azaan is not carried out, how will we offer Namaz?” The Policemen insist that the order have come from the Lieutenant General of Delhi.
From the nature of the conversation and the statement by the Delhi Police which mentions guidelines issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), it appears that loudspeakers might have been used to relay the Azaan to the masses. The use of loudspeakers during Azaan is prohibited and the NGT has taken a hardline stance on the matter. Last year in March, the NGT directed the Delhi Police to map out hotspots in the city and crack down on violators.
“There has to be strict action of identifying and mapping the hotspots of noise pollution, requiring installation of noise measuring device by the users of noise creating devices having potential of causing high noise level, beyond the prescribed limit,” the bench had said.“There has to be a surveillance and monitoring mechanism, coordination with educational institutions and resident welfare associations,” it added.
Thus, quite clearly, Azaan is not banned but using loudspeakers for it is indeed prohibited. The video does not portray the entire series of events and it does tell us about the chain of events leading to that conversation. However, it appears very probable that loudspeakers were involved and perhaps, the Delhi Police should offer more facts regarding the incident.
Meanwhile, Muslim ‘intellectuals’ on social media have gotten themselves busy playing the victim card over the incident and hailing the women as heroes. It’s not only Saba Naqvi who insinuated that Azaan during Ramzan had been banned, others joined in the clamour too.
Delhi Police (Thana Prem Nagar) claims that @LtGovDelhi has ordered to ban Azaan in Mosques. @DelhiPolice @DCPNWestDelhi please show copy of LG’s the order.— Milli Gazette (@milligazette) April 23, 2020
PS: Salute to these brave women, Masha Allah. pic.twitter.com/9D4aS9Sqbx
Some constables from Delhi Prem Nagar police station came to the area. Do not give Azan to the Imam of the mosque. People said, “Let me see the order,” said the constable. This is the ruling of LG Sahab. Now there was no hope from the government.#Islamophobia_In_India #india pic.twitter.com/0GU1TYpP6W— Abdul Mujeeb (@abdulmujeebmse1) April 24, 2020
There doesn’t appear to be any clarity yet regarding the precise nature of events, however, the victim card is out again on full display. It could very well be that there was lapse on the part of the two policemen but at the same time, the policemen could have been telling the people that Azaan through loudspeakers is not permissible. In any case, it’s too early to be playing the victim card but that hasn’t prevented the usual suspects from spinning the incident already into their narrative of alleged persecution of Muslims in India.