Sri Rama Sene, which has been opposing azan (call for prayer) on loudspeakers, launched a campaign of playing suprabhata, bhajans, or Hanuman chalisa on loudspeakers early on Monday morning in some parts of Karnataka. Security has been beefed up near temples in districts where such incidents were reported, as the Sene has threatened to continue the campaign, and a few activists were detained by the police.

Sene chief Pramod Mutalik launched the campaign by playing suprabhata and other devotional songs on loudspeaker at a Hanuman temple in Mysuru.

At Bengaluru, as many as 10 Hindutva activists were detained when they came to recite Hanuman chalisa at Jaya Anjaneya temple in Vivek Nagar in the early hours of Monday. There was heated argument before they were detained.

As a precautionary measure, the jurisdictional police in Bengaluru met the temple management committee and deployed personnel to monitor the situation. Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant met the Chief Minister and Home Minister to brief them about the developments.

Barring the districts where the Sene has its presence, there was little response in the districts of North Karnataka for the call given to play bhajans during azan. In the districts of Belagavi, Dharwad, Gadag, and Kalaburagi, Sene workers visited temples during wee hours at the time of azan and devotional music was played on loudspeakers for half an hour to an hour. In Kalaburagi, the police detained around 20 Sene activists.

In Mangaluru, two Sene activists played the recorded songs of the revered Koragajja in the tent of Ayappa Swami devotees in Moodushedde on the outskirts of the city early on Monday. No other such incident was reported in Udupi or Mangaluru.

‘Eye-wash’

Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Mr. Mutalik described the notices issued by the State Government to mosques to adhere to the Supreme Court directions on the use of loudspeaker for azan as mere “eye-wash.” He condemned the attack on activists. “The use of loudspeaker for azan at 5 a.m. has not stopped,” he said. Mr. Mutalik warned that a contempt of court petition will be filed in the High Court against the violation of the Supreme Court guidelines on use of loudspeaker for azan.

Dalit Sene stands guard

The Dalit Sene and the Janata Dal (Secular) strongly condemned Sri Rama Sene’s decision to play Hanuman chalisa and bhajans outside mosques in Kalaburagi. Dalit Sene leader Hanumanth Yelasanghi said that Siddalinga Swami of Sri Rama Sene was trying to spread communal violence in the district through such moves.

“We have vowed to stand guard outside mosques. We will not allow Sri Rama Sene members to play bhajans outside masjids,” Mr. Yelasanghi said.

Sri Ram Sene activists, however, played bhajans at Anjaneya Temple in Santosh Colony in the city and at Karuneshwar Mutt in Andola of Jewargi taluk at about 5 a.m. during azan.

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