Adityanath’s Crackdown on Loudspeakers in UP Gets Thumbs Up from Raj Thackeray

For Yogi Adityanath, praise has come from unlikely quarters. On Thursday, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray congratulated Uttar Pradesh and its chief minister for removing loudspeakers from religious places as he took a dig at the Maharashtra government for failing to follow suit.

Taking to Twitter, Thackeray said: “I wholeheartedly congratulate and stand grateful to the Yogi government for having removed the loudspeakers from religious places, especially Masjids. Unfortunately, in Maharashtra we don’t have any ‘yogis’; what we have are ‘bhogis’ (hedonists). Here’s hoping and praying good sense prevails.”

The support came a day after acting on the orders of Yogi Adityanath, UP police removed 6,031 unauthorised loudspeakers from religious places and the sound levels have been lowered at 29,674 spots in Uttar Pradesh. By April 30, the UP government has sought reports on places where loudspeakers cross the volume levels.

Raj Thackeray has been at the forefront of the latest political controversy in Maharashtra surrounding loudspeakers after the MNS chief gave an ultimatum till May 3 to the Uddhav Thackeray government to remove the sound devices from mosques. He had also warned that his party would play the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ at higher volumes outside mosques if the demand was not met.

Reiterating his demand, the MNS president said he doesn’t want any riots in Maharashtra. He clarified that his demand to remove loudspeakers from mosques has not stemmed from his opposition to ‘Azaan’ by the Muslims and added that religion is not bigger than law.

“We don’t want riots in Maharashtra. No one has opposed the offering of prayers. But if you (Muslims) do it on loudspeaker, then we’ll also use loudspeakers for it. Muslims should understand that religion isn’t bigger than the law. After May 3, I’ll see what to do,” Thackeray said during a press conference, according to ANI.

“I think that such things should be answered in a similar manner, otherwise, those people will not understand,” he surther said while referring to the controversy.

The threats have been met with strong opposition as former Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said Raj Thackeray’s statements will only continue till elections. She added that the state government will solve the issue while some people are trying to worsen situations by picking religious topics.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut referred to the MNS chief as a “new Hindu Owaisi” and his party a “new Hindutva MIM”. Alleging the BJP’s hand behind the demands for removing loudspeakers from mosques and reciting Hanuman Chalisa, Raut claimed that Intelligence inputs suggest that a conspiracy is on to create communal tension in Maharashtra and recommend President’s rule dismissing the MVA government.

In UP, meanwhile, as per the latest data, 30 unauthorised loudspeakers were removed in Agra zone and the volume was lowered at 905 places.

A total of 1,215 unauthorised loudspeakers were removed in Meerut zone, 1,070 in Bareilly zone, 912 in Lucknow zone, 1,056 in Kanpur zone, 1 in Prayagraj, 2 in Gorakhpur zone, 1,366 in Varanasi zone, 19 in Gautam Budh Nagar, 190 in Lucknow commissionerate and 170 in Varanasi commissionerate.

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