Sena rally flouts HC conditions

The Shiv Sena’s yearly Dussehra rally held at Shivaji Park yesterday started on a bang, quite literally. In spite of the conditions of having distributive sound systems and installing sound barriers as laid down by the High Court, the Sena went ahead with its yearly rally without paying heed to the diktats laid down by the HC and violated sound levels.

Noise activist, Sumaira Abdulali
Ear-splitting: Noise activist Sumaira Abdulali shows a recording of 67 dB at Shivaji Park during Sena’s Dussehra rally. The noise levels at Shivaji Park were later recorded at a thunderous 98 dB too. Pics/Neha Parekh

The yearly tradition by the Sena began with the thundering of drums and the sound level of 50 decibels (dB) was soon broken and the sound levels reached a booming 98 dB. Before the start of the rally, the sound levels recorded at Shivaji Park was 59-60 dB owing to the large mass of people thronging the grounds.

Shivaji Park, Sena's Dussehra rally
Shiv Sena’s Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park

Sunil Prabhu, the mayor of the city and head of the BMC, which had initially denied permission to the Sena for the rally, boomed over the microphone and gave a 20-minute long speech.

Noise activist, Sumaira Abdulali
Now that’s loud: Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz foundation displays the decibel meter outside Shivaji Park, which read 82.1 at the time. Pics/Neha Parekh

According to readings by Sumaira Abdulali of the Awaaz foundation, the mayor’s speech was made at a thundering 80 dB. Meanwhile, Uddhav Thackeray’s speech was recorded at 81 dB.

Additionally, the Sena had failed to heed the Court’s diktat of having distributive sound systems as over 35 loudspeakers were seen on the grounds.

Activist Abdulali said, “Having small speakers doesn’t make them distributed sound systems as they are loudspeakers and the noise levels recorded outside the periphery of Shivaji Park was way higher than the limit of 50 db. When the drums were played at the entrance of Shivaji Park the mixture of the loudspeakers and crowds showed a reading of 98 dB. This is a clear-cut violation of the court orders as the permission to hold the rally was granted on these conditions.”

Sena speaks
When MiD DAY contacted the Shiv Sena, Vinayak Raut, secretary and MLC said, “We can’t comment on the noise decibels now, but we had used low voltage speakers. From our side we tried our best to follow the Court orders.”

HC’s nod to Sena
The High Court, while granting permission, had ordered Shiv Sena to use ‘distributed sound systems’ and install ‘sound barriers’, and also permit NGOs to monitor noise levels at the venue. The bench also directed Sena to ensure the cricket pitches were not damaged. 

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