SRINAGAR, Aug 8: Mosques in Kashmir, these days, are taking to high tech gadgetry to help worshippers offer prayers in peace. The caretakers of many mosques in Muslim majority Kashmir have installed mobile jammers to stop ringing of mobile phones in the midst of Namaaz.
Since the introduction of cellular service in the valley in 2003, mobile phones have penetrated each and every social strata in the region, hence an increasing need to silence these ‘gadgets of nuisance’ in places of worship.
Despite placards advising to ‘switch off your phone’, many a time mosque goers would forget to ‘silence’ the ringing of tones which often disturbed the Imam (who leads the prayers) besides irking many disciplined worshipers.
“Earlier the mobile phones were not much in vogue and the ring tones also used to be simpler. But now even kids are having mobiles in their pockets with sometimes the raciest of Hindi and English songs as their ring tones. It is not just distraction but amounts to insult to the house of God,” informs a caretaker of Masjid Bilal on the banks of river Jhelum in Srinagar.
“After we installed the jammer, our mosque is much peaceful,” he says.
The loud ringtones in midst of prayers would often lead to skirmishes between worshippers. Many a time people have come close to exchanging blows, says Shamim Andrabi, a regular at the mosque. “Even I sometimes forgot to put my phone on silent mode, but I try to be careful. However, there are others who don’t learn to respect the Namaaz and their cell ringtones disturb us,” he says.
Although worshippers are getting respite from these musical tones, yet many of them are surprised to find jammers having been used, a gadget which has only been associated with movement of military and politicians during the two decades of militancy.
“People often ask us if it was permissible to install a jammer; they have no idea that mobile jammers are different from those used by the Army,” says Yasir Shabir, who deals in electronic systems and installation of the mobile jammers.
“Even then only a few Masjids have ordered these jammers. I think not many know that they can now do something to curb this ring-tone menace.”
The jammers block the mobile use by sending out radio waves along the same frequencies that cellular phones use. This causes enough interference with the communication of cell mobile phones and the towers to render the phones unusable.
(The author is correspondent, The Hindustan Times)