West Bengal Mosque Threat

Restrictions facing Mosques in West Bengal

In the City of Calcutta and the State of West Bengal in India some restrictions have been imposed on the use of microphone for Azaan from Mosques. This is apparently because of some confusion or misinterpretation of law relating to control of noise and protection of environment.

Ambient Noise Standards for Noise have been universally prescribed as 55 dB(A) Leq for Residential areas : 65 dB(A) Leq for Commercial areas : 75 dB(A) Leq for Industrial areas during day time and 10 dB(A) lower for the night. Ambient Noise means total noise in the environment from various sources far and near other than the noise from the source of interest. This may mean background noise.

The above Standards have now been prescribed in West Bengal as the Maximum Permissible limits.Apart from this, use of microphone has been totally banned from 9.00.p.m. to 7.00 a.m.

We are therefore to restrict the call of Azaan from Mosques to 55dB(A) in Residential Areas and 65 dB(A) in Commercial Areas during daytime and to call the Fajr Azaan in the morning ( 4.30 a.m.) at 40 dB(A) (without Loudspeaker). This has put us in a dilemma. Normal conversation, for being audible within a distance of say 1.5 metres, requires 66 dB(A). The average Noise level in Calcutta is approx 90 dB(A) during day time. We therefore need microphone for the call of Azaan.

We intend to appeal in the Supreme Court of India and we require Documents/ Books relating to Noise Pollution, Method of measurement of Noise Level, Maximum Permissible Limits for noise of short durations of less than 2 minutes, 5 minutes fifteen minutes, one hour, eight hour etc.

We understand that use of Microphone for the Call of Azaan from Mosques is permitted in the City of New York, State of Delware, United Kingdom and many other countries. Mosques, Churches and other religious places are exempted from the Noise Code regulations. We would like to have details of such exemptions and documentary evidences / justifications for such exemptions

It would be of great help to us if we can get copies of the relevant Act, Rules and Orders permitting use of Microphone for Azaan from Mosques in some important areas in the world.

We further understand that the that the Environment Protection Agency in the USA, World Health Organization, Copenhagen and many other renowned Organizations have conducted a lot of studies on Noise and these have been published. These Books can be helpful to us. We are not getting these Books in Calcutta. There may be other relevant reports on noise which can help us.

To place astrong case before the Court we need such books/reports and information about the Rules / orders relating to use of Microphone for Azaan in Mosques in other countries. Shri Siddhartha Shankar Ray, Former Ambassador of India in USA and Mr. Badar Durrez Ahmed son of Late Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, former President of India have very kindly agreed to plead our Case before the Supreme Court.

We request you to kindly see if you can help us in the matter by sending Original Printed Copies of such Books, Study Reports, Orders Etc. and other relevant details by AIRMAIL to reach us at an early date at the following address.

This may kindly be treated as MOST URGENT:

Mohammad Ashfaque,
76 Shakepeare Sarani,
Calcutta-700 017

E Mail :azaanrabeta@hotmail.com