Raj Thackeray, the chief of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, urged his followers on Tuesday to play Hanuman Chalisa whereas the loudspeakers played Azaan on Wednesday. This has kept the Mumbai and Maharashtra Police on their toes as they work to maintain peace and order.
Here’s what the Azaan-vs-Hanuman Chalisa debate is all about:
1. On April 2, MNS stated that if such amplifiers are not removed from mosques, Hanuman Chalisa will be played through loudspeakers.
2. On April 13, MNS president Raj Thackeray set a deadline of May 3 for mosques to remove loudspeakers.
3. Soon after, the Maharashtra government seemed to take action against loudspeakers in religious institutions, as the Nashik police forbade the use of loudspeakers in religious sites without license. They further stated that Hanuman Chalisa will be prohibited from being played on loudspeakers 15 minutes before and after Azaan is presented.
4. The Maharashtra Home Department, too, has set May 3 as the deadline for removing loudspeakers from mosques.
5. Speaking at a big gathering in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad on Sunday, May 1, Raj Thackeray threatened that if loudspeakers are not removed from mosques by Wednesday, he will guarantee that the Hanuman Chalisa is played outside the facilities at ‘double power’. On Tuesday, an FIR was lodged against him for his “inflammatory comments.”
6. Meanwhile, a Mumbai court on Sunday ordered the arrest of MP Navneet Rana and her husband, MLA Ravi Rana, till May 6. On April 23, the couple was detained for allegedly ‘promoting hatred amongst different communities’ by threatening to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s residence. On Tuesday, their bail request will be considered.
7. The BJP backed the MNS and the Rana couple’s stance, calling the Maharashtra government ‘intolerant’. ‘Navneet Rana was slapped with a sedition charge,’ stated Opposition Leader Devendra Fadnavis. ‘If chanting the Hanuman Chalisa is sedition, then every one of us is eager to do it on a daily basis’. On the other hand, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray stated on April 25 that playing Hanuman Chalisa was not an issue, but he strongly advised against ‘dadagiri (hooliganism)’.
8. On Monday, May 2, Raj Thackeray ordered his party workers not to do aarti or do anything else that may interfere with Eid festivities on May 3.
9. On Tuesday, hours after an FIR was lodged against MNS president Raj Thackeray for his speech in Aurangabad, security was increased outside his Mumbai apartment. As a precautionary measure, the Mumbai police filed a notice under Section 149 of the CrPC after MNS President Raj Thackeray issued an ultimatum to play Hanuman Chalisa in front of mosques if loudspeakers were not removed by Wednesday.
10. Raj Thackeray on Tuesday instructed his followers to play Hanuman Chalisa whereas the loudspeakers played Azaan on Wednesday.