New Delhi: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday hit back at Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray for giving a call to recite Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques to protest against loudspeakers blaring ‘azaan’. Raj Thackeray had warned the Maharashtra government of massive protests if loudspeakers installed at mosques were not removed by May 3 but the ruling alliance’s Shiv Sena asserted that there were no illegal loudspeakers at religious places in the state.
According to the Maharashtra Home Department, Mumbai has 1,140 mosques with 135 of them using loudspeakers before 6 AM on May 3. Senior Home Department officials stated that appropriate action would be taken against these 135 mosques that went against the 2005 orders of the Supreme Court, which banned the use of loudspeakers and music systems in public places between 10 pm and 6 am (except in cases of public emergencies).
“There is peace in Maharashtra and no protest is happening in the state. No illegal loudspeakers are running in the state. Bal Thackeray and Veer Savarkar are the ones who taught Hindutva to the country. Shiv Sena’s school of Hindutva is original,” said Sanjay Raut while reacting to the statements made by the MNS chief. A day earlier, Shiv Sena had sent out a strong message to Raj Thackeray asserting that the Maharashtra government does not run on ultimatums and that the rule of law prevails in the state.
However, a MNS worker played Hanuman Chalisa on a loudspeaker near a mosque in Charkop area of Mumbai on Wednesday morning following Raj Thackeray’s call.
In a video, an MNS worker, holding the party flag, was seen playing the Hanuman Chalisa on a loudspeaker from a high-rise. In the background, the ‘azaan’ could be heard from a loudspeaker of a nearby mosque.
Heavy security was deployed at several places in Mumbai and adjoining cities on Wednesday, a day after MNS chief Raj Thackeray urged people to play the Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers wherever they hear loudspeakers “blaring ‘azaan’.
The morning prayers were offered peacefully at many mosques, an official said. All senior police officials, including Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey, were out to take stock of the security deployment, he said.
Police were also deployed outside mosques at some places. There was nakabandi’ (blockade) at various locations and vehicles were being checked since the early hours to avoid any untoward incident, the official said.
As a precautionary measure, the city police have already issued more than 1,600 notices under various sections of the Criminal Procedure Code, including 149 (for preventing cognisable offences), to MNS workers and others.
The police had also conducted meetings with maulvis and trustees of various mosques and asked them to follow the Supreme Court guidelines and rules related to noise pollution.
Heavy security was also deployed at many places in neighbouring in Thane and Palghar districts. There was elaborate police bandobast near the Jumma Masjid in Mumbra township of Thane.
Some MNS workers had plans to play the Hanuman Chalisa near there, but they left after the ‘azaan’ was not heard outside the religious premises. Mumbra police station’s senior inspector Ashok Kadlag said the situation was under control and there was no report of any untoward incident so far.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone II, Bhiwandi, Yogesh Chavan also said the powerloom town in Thane was peaceful.
(With PTI Inputs)