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UDF-ruled municipality orders to play municipal siren for Ramadan nombu thura

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Kerala (VSK). Secretary of Changanassery Municipality, Kottayam district, has issued an order to the Health Supervisor and a Contingent Worker to play municipal siren at 6.39 pm every evening from March 23 to April 21, 2023, the period of Ramadan. The idea is to inform the people who observe Ramadan fasting that it is time for nombu thura, that is, time for breaking the fast and have the refreshments.

Order is addressed to Somasundar and Biju, the Health Supervisor and Contingent Worker respectively, working under the said municipality. Biju is entrusted with the responsibility to play the siren whereas Somasundar is asked to make sure that the ‘job is done properly’. The order says, if at all any technical snag takes place, the municipality’s engineering section should be contacted and get the issue solved.

Changanassery Municipality is ruled by Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).

The letter refers to the communication from M.H.M. Haneefa, Secretary of Puthoor Mosque Muslim Jama-eth, Changanassery, dated March 23, 2023.

The issue has stirred a hornets’ nest in Kerala in general and Changanassery in particular. People wonder if it is the job of a secular local self-government body to take initiative in religious matters like this. Some others ask whether the Municipal Secretary is authorized to do so and if he will extend the same gesture if a temple or a church asks for this sort of initiative.

Latest unconfirmed reports suggest that Changanassery Municipality had played sirens for Ramadan breakfast, in the past ‘unofficially’. But, this time, Secretary’s letter establishes that both mosque’s request and Secretary’s order are in writing.

Still people are bound to take it for granted that they are living in a secular country, secular state, secular district and secular municipality.

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