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Loud loudspeakers a nuisance in Allahabad despite SC order
The triangular crossing in Alopibagh in Allahabad suddenly shot into news at around midnight on the day the Daraganj Hanuman Dal was taken out - accompanied with loud music from multiple loudspeakers - jolting the locals into action.

THE REASON? A big cluster of loudspeakers was pouring forth music and announcements at the loudest possible volume. When the sound was being emitted simultaneously from hundreds of loudspeakers, as a report mentioned, one can very well imagine the plight of the people living in the surrounding areas, especially those who might have visited the mela and returned home.

The report talks about police having to use force, even lathi-charge the protestors who were not willing to tone down the sound. Ultimately, all the speakers were hushed into silence. Interestingly enough, the police went to the spot only when large number of residents of the area complained to them. Some of them were ill; some were heart patients.

The police acted on receipt of these complaints. The point is: Why didn't the police act on its own? There is law forbidding the playing of loudspeakers after 10pm. In exceptional situation, the time can be extended till 12 midnight, but not beyond. And this extension too has to be given once in a while and not every time.

I may mention that the Supreme Court is very tough, on this. Some years ago a Pune religious organization appeared before the apex court requesting them to relax the time bar as their festivities picked up only after 10 pm. But the Supreme Court did not accept this argument and hence the permission was not given. The district and the police authorities should know about the Supreme Court restrictions. These do not pertain to Allahabad alone but are in force all over the country.

The difference is that while in other places the curbs imposed by the Supreme Court are respected, in Allahabad, the rules and regulations are not being followed. Several weeks ago it was mentioned that the police must warn the organization committees against violating the sound barrier imposed by the court. I had mentioned that if this ban is enforced effectively, in all likelihood, Ramdals would be taken out much earlier so that by 10pm bulk of the program would be over.

This used to happen in the past. I distinctly remember watching the Katra Ramdal from Laxmi Talkies crossing passing by 10pm. That may sound unbelievable. But it is true. The authorities have been taking the loudspeaker curbs very lightly. A day may come when someone might go to the court and file a contempt petition against the authorities concerned for their failure to enforce the ban.

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