MNS in Full Swing as Deadline Ends, Raj Thackeray to Address Media, Maha Govt on Alert, Security Up in Sensitive Areas

The Hanuman Chalisa was played on the terrace of a residential building. Security has been tightened outside the residence of the MNS chief in Mumbai amid the loudspeaker row.

On the other hand, Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey is on rounds to various police stations to review the law and order situation in the city.

Besides, in Pune, the police have beefed up security near Puneshswar Hanuman Temple in the Kasba Peth area after the MNS announced to organise “Maha Arti” in the temple amid loudspeaker row.

As tension is brewing in the state, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil will address a press conference at his residence in Mumbai on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, reacting to the loudspeaker vs Hanuman Chalisa controversy, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi called it a battle of existence between two brothers. “They are competing over whose loudspeaker should be the loudest and trying to disrupt the communal harmony of this country,” Naqvi said.

Referring to Uttar Pradesh as the “model peaceful state”, Naqvi said that issues of loudspeakers should be addressed like how it has been in UP.

Raj Thackeray late on Tuesday had called upon the people to play “Hanuman Chalisa” outside those mosques where “azaans’ (prayer calls) are sounded from Wednesday.

“I appeal to all Hindus that tomorrow, the 4th of May, if you hear the loudspeakers blaring with azaans; in those very places, play the Hanuman Chalisa on the loudspeakers! That’s when they will realise the hindrance of these loudspeakers!” he said.

In a statement released here, the MNS chief alleged that Hindu festivals are restricted by silence zones under the facade of schools or hospitals, but mosques are exempt from such restrictions.

“I appeal to all Hindus that, make them hear Hanuman Chalisa, all local mandals and vigilant citizens should start a signature drive against it and submit the appeal letter with signatures daily to the local police station, if one hears the masjids playing the loudspeakers, the citizens should dial 100 and lodge a complaint. One must complain everyday,” he said.

The estranged cousin of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray called upon the police to show that the country is “governed by law and order, they should maintain and follow the law, and unauthorised mosques, loudspeakers and the prayers being held in the middle of the roads need to be addressed duly”.

Reiterating to the Muslims that this was a social issue and not a religious one, Raj Thackeray said he wholeheartedly welcomed the decision of those mosques that have tried to stop the use of loudspeakers owing to the misuse and disturbances caused by it, and also directed the Hindus not to harass such mosques that have stopped using loudspeakers.

Acknowledging that the issue cannot be tackled in a day, he called upon all Hindus to take the call ahead of shutting down loudspeakers, become mentally prepared for it, all politicians should also work towards it, and “each citizen should show the strength of what it is to be a Hindu”.

He referred to the Supreme Court guidelines on the timings, the decibel levels and other aspects for the use of loudspeakers by all religions for the duration of their festivals, but it is not supposed to be for 365 days, etc.

Targeting his cousin and Chief Minister, Raj Thackeray sought to remind him of the late Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray who wanted all loudspeakers to be silenced.

“Are you going to listen to this? Or are you going to follow what non-religious Sharad Pawar who is responsible to keep you in power? Let the people of Maharashtra witness what is going to happen,” he said.

He added that the country doesn’t have so many jails that can arrest the Hindus, and this fact should be recognised by the governments.

“My dear Hindu brothers, sisters and mothers come together, be one in bringing down these loudspeakers! If not now, then it will never happen!” he said.

Earlier, the Aurangabad police booked Raj for flouting the police conditions when permission was granted for his May 1 rally there, and the police launched a state-wide crackdown against MNS activists.

In order to avert any untoward situation, the Maharashtra Police went into a high-alert mode, cancelled all leaves of personnel for security duties, deployed 30,000 home guards and other measures to tackle Raj Thackeray’s “ultimatum”.

(With agency inputs)

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