Barely a fortnight after one of the quietest Diwali celebrations in Mumbai in recent years, the ongoing Muharram observance has become the focus of complaints for noisy processions and public gatherings that are part of the occasion.
Awaaz Foundation, an NGO that is building awareness on environmental pollution, has received several complaints about noise from firecrackers being lit during the “rituals of Muharram” and this has been conveyed by Awaaz founder Sumaira Abdulali to Sadanand Date, joint commissioner of police (law and order).
This has prompted Awaaz to plan another round of noise checks in public places in the city beginning December 4, to monitor the noise levels during the remainder of Muharram.
“I have received a number of complaints about intense firecracker use in various parts of Mumbai on Sunday. Some of the areas are Byculla, Parel, Dadar, Bandra and Borivli,” Abdulali wrote in her letter to the police. “Many of these complaints say that firecracker use extended beyond 10pm and that they were as intense, and sometimes even more intense, than during Diwali.”
The Muharram ritual observances run from November 15 through December 13.
The activist expressed concern that crackers are used “during various occasions, including occasions of mourning, and their use has now extended periodically throughout the year.”
“A system to control firecracker use throughout the year needs to be put in place urgently... (and) in view of the continuing use of firecrackers beyond the festival of Diwali, notification of police rules which would be in continuous effect to regulate firecracker distribution, sale and use is essential,” Abdulali has said.
Date, the joint commissioner of police, was not available for comment.
Nisar Tamboli, police spokesperson, said, “We are in the process of doing that (preparing a notification of rules for regulating the distribution, sale and use of firecrackers). Also, with regard to complaints of noise pollution that are received, action will be taken on them.”