Loudspeaker row: Police on toes as Raj Thackeray’s May 3 deadline dawns

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Tuesday asked his supporters to play Hanuman Chalisa where the loudspeakers let out Azaan on Wednesday. This has kept the Mumbai and Maharashtra Police on their toes as they make every effort to prevent a law-and-order situation.

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Here’s all that the Azaan-vs-Hanuman Chalisa controversy is all about:

1. On April 2, MNS said that Hanuman Chalisa would be played on loudspeakers if such amplifiers are not removed from mosques.

2. On April 13, MNS president Raj Thackeray set May 3 the deadline to remove loudspeakers from mosques.

3. Soon, the Maharashtra government seemed to take action against loudspeakers at religious institutions as the Nashik police prohibited the use of loudspeakers without permission at religious places. They also said that Hanuman Chalisa won’t be allowed to be played on loudspeakers 15 minutes before and after Azaan is offered.

ALSO READ | MNS vows to mount more loudspeakers to play Hanuman Chalisa despite police action

4. The Home Department of Maharashtra, too, set May 3 as the deadline for removing loudspeakers from mosques.

5. On Sunday, May 1, while addressing a massive rally in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad, Raj Thackeray said f loudspeakers are not removed from mosques by Wednesday, he would ensure that the Hanuman Chalisa is played outside the establishments at ‘double power’. An FIR was filed against him on Tuesday for his “inflammatory speech”.

6. Meanwhile, a Mumbai court on Sunday sent MP Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana to judicial custody till May 6. The couple was arrested on April 23 for allegedly “creating enmity between different groups” over their threats to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s home. Their bail plea will be heard on Tuesday.

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7. The BJP supported MNS and Rana couple’s stand and called the Maharashtra government “intolerant”. Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said, “Navneet Rana was slapped with a sedition charge. If reciting Hanuman Chalisa is sedition, then everyone among us is willing to commit it every day.” However, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on April 25 said playing Hanuman Chalisa was not a problem, but he strictly warned against “dadagiri (hooliganism)”.

8. On May 2, Raj Thackeray appealed to his party workers on Monday to not perform aarti or do anything that may disrupt Eid celebrations on May 3.

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9. Hours after an FIR was filed against MNS chief Raj Thackeray for his speech in Aurangabad, security was beefed up outside his residence in Mumbai on Tuesday. The Mumbai police issued a notice under Section 149 of CrPC as a precautionary measure after MNS chief Raj Thackeray gave an ultimatum to play Hanuman Chalisa in front of mosques if loudspeakers were not removed on Wednesday.

10. Raj Thackeray on Tuesday again asked his supporters to play Hanuman Chalisa where the loudspeakers let out Azaan on Wednesday.

ALSO READ | Let Eid be celebrated with joy, don’t perform aarti: Raj Thackeray tells workers

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