Why Are Religious Institutions Given A Free Pass For Noise Pollution?

Posted by Arunchandra c in Environment
June 25, 2018

I remember the incident when people were outraged and were making expert comments on a silly tweet made by celebrity singer Sonu Nigam over a mosque using loudspeakers.

With the Ganesh festival approaching, people have started putting up tents in every corner of the street, where they will be blasting heavy music till 3 am. Surprisingly, the police don’t even interfere in this activity. These same cops take issue with any young person listening to loud music beyond 10 pm on other occasions.

For restricting loud sounds and speakers, Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 has been enacted by the Government of India in the exercise of its powers conferred under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. In addition to this, the Supreme court orders restrict the use of speakers in the residential area after 10 pm. But the sad truth is that it’s rarely followed.

Now don’t start with the whataboutery argument, pointing fingers at other religions to defend Hindu religious activity, because it’s a fact that all religious institutions take everything for granted. Church, mosques or temples – all of them are equally guilty of this.

I was reminded of a past event where I got into an argument with a Circle Inspector at Rammurthynagar police station over allowing temple festivals and Ganesh Chathurthy processions to go on long past 3 am. The government doesn’t bother to regulate and enforce the law because these institutions are potential vote banks. Public functions that don’t follow the norms of noise pollution are the main contributors to noise pollution, followed by insensitive people honking on the road for no reason at all.

When I complained about religious procession in the residential area being carried on beyond permissible hours, no action was taken. I informed the DCP. Later, the Circle Inspector asked me why I was texting senior officers continuously. I explained to him about the use of loudspeakers in the name of festivals, for which he gave the justification that in North Karnataka, festivals go on till 5 am. I was shocked to see the protector of the law justifying its violation instead of enforcing it.

We just limit our outrage to social media. We need to start getting more assertive and stop tolerating such incidents in our society. Religious activities should be treated in the same way DJ events happen in the city. Shut them down if they are being conducted beyond the permissible time limit.

Yesterday I was stuck in a traffic jam for two hours because these religious processions were being carried out. So, I decided to close down one part of the road to set up tents for the procession. If someone dies due to being stuck in traffic, will the same god curse these bhakts?

If the nation can conduct debate for days on ridiculous statements made by some politicians, then it can surely conduct a debate on civil and social responsibility. It can definitely discuss filing a complaint about noise pollution.

It’s time that miscreants are not allowed to exploit the religious sentiments of people, no matter how absurd they are.