Sene starts morning prayer in some temples to counter the azan

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Sri Rama Sene, who opposed azan (call to prayer) on loudspeakers, launched a campaign of broadcasting suprabhata, bhajans or Hanuman chalisa on loudspeakers early Monday morning in some parts of Karnataka. Security was tightened near temples in neighborhoods where such incidents were reported, as the Sene threatened to continue the campaign and a few activists were arrested by police.

Chief Sene Pramod Mutalik kicked off the campaign by playing suprabhata and other devotional songs over a loudspeaker at a Hanuman temple in Mysuru.

In Bangalore, up to 10 Hindutva activists were arrested when they came to recite Hanuman chalisa at the Jaya Anjaneya temple in Vivek Nagar in the early hours of Monday. There were heated arguments before their arrest.

As a precaution, the Bangalore Jurisdictional Police met with the temple’s management committee and deployed personnel to monitor the situation. Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant has met with the Chief Minister and Home Minister to brief them on the developments.

Except for the districts where the Sene is present, there has been little response in the northern districts of Karnataka to the call to perform bhajans during the azan. In Belagavi, Dharwad, Gadag and Kalaburagi districts, Sene workers would visit temples in the early hours at azan time and devotional music would be played over loudspeakers for half an hour to an hour. In Kalaburagi, the police arrested around 20 Sene activists.

In Mangaluru, two Sene activists performed the recorded songs of the revered Koragajja at the tent of devotees of Ayappa Swami at Moodushedde, on the outskirts of the town, early Monday. No other such incidents were reported in Udupi or Mangaluru.

‘Eye drops’

Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Mr Mutalik described notices issued by the state government to mosques to adhere to Supreme Court guidelines on the use of loudspeakers for azan as a simple “eye wash”. He condemned the attack on the militants. “Using the loudspeaker for the azan at 5 a.m. hasn’t stopped,” he said. Mr Mutalik has warned that a contempt of court motion will be filed in the High Court against the violation of the Supreme Court’s guidelines on the use of a loudspeaker for the azan.

Dalit Sene stands guard

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

“We have sworn to stand guard in front of the mosques. We will not allow members of Sri Rama Sene to perform bhajans outside the masjids,” Mr Yelasanghi said.

Sri Ram Sene activists, however, performed bhajans at Anjaneya temple in Santosh settlement in the city and at Karuneshwar Mutt in Andola of Jewargi taluk around 5 am during azan.

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