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Maharashtra tense as MNS workers play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers during morning azaan

Hours after Raj Thackeray’s “Hindu now or never” war cry, MNS workers played the Hanuman Chalisa from loudspeakers during the 5am namaz.

Raj Thackeray

Hours after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray’s “Hindu now or never” war cry, MNS workers played the Hanuman Chalisa from loudspeakers from a residential building during the 5am namaz on Wednesday in Mumbai’s Charkop area. The security remained tight outside the MNS supremo’s residence amid the loudspeaker row.

Aurangabad police on Tuesday filed a case against Raj Thackeray after his “provocative” speech over removal of loudspeakers on mosques ahead of Eid.

Soon after his threat, many mosques across Mumbai kept their loudspeakers off during morning azaan on Eid fearing retaliation. Thackeray had instructed his party workers to play Hanuman Chalisa from May 4 wherever the azaan is being recited on loudspeakers.

“I appeal to all Hindus that tomorrow, the 4th of May, if you hear the loudspeaker blaring with azaan; in those places, play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers. That’s when they will realise the hindrance of these loudspeakers,” Raj Thackeray had tweeted.

The MNS chief was booked under sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 116 (abetment of offence punishable with imprisonment if offence be not committed) and 117 (abetting commission of offence by the public or by more than 10 persons) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Maharashtra Police Act.

The 53-year-old politician was served a notice by the Mumbai police under CrPC sections related to the prevention of cognizable offences. A court in Maharashtra’s slapped a non-bailable warrant in a case that dates back to 2008 where Raj Thackeray was alleged to have given inflammatory speeches.

Maharashtra’s ruling Shiv Sena was in no mood to back down, saying that rule of law prevails in the state even as MNS warned of storming the streets if further action is taken against their supremo.

Addressing a mega rally in Aurangabad on Sunday, which he termed as “Hindu Jananayak”, the MNS chief took a dig at his estranged cousin and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday, and wondered what was stopping the CM to remove loudspeakers like the UP government.

“I won’t be responsible for what happens after the May 3 deadline to remove the loudspeakers from the mosques,” he said.

Raj Thackeray accused NCP chief Sharad Pawar of indulging in caste politics and accused him of dividing the state along caste and religious lines.

“Loudspeakers is a social issue, but if it is being made a religious one, then we shall give a reply in the same manner. Eid will be celebrated on May 3. We don’t want to vitiate the atmosphere. But from May 4, if loudspeakers are not brought down (from mosques), then all Hindus should play Hanuman Chalisa at double the volume in front of those mosques,” said Raj Thackeray.

While saying that loudspeakers have no place at religious institutions, the MNS chief warned that if people from the Muslim community don’t adhere to his call, then his party “will show them the power of Maharashtra.”

“All loudspeakers (atop mosques) are illegal. Is it a concert that so many loudspeakers are being used?” he said.

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