The loudspeaker row deepened in Maharashtra after MNS chief Raj Thackeray said on Sunday that if loudspeakers are not removed from atop mosques, his party workers would play the Hanuman Chalisa. He also warned that if from May 4 onwards, loudspeakers are not removed, “we won’t keep quiet”.
“What happens after that in Maharashtra, I don’t know. I want to tell the cops here (to) go out and start removing these loudspeakers right now,” he said. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief said that from May 4, all Hindus should play Hanuman Chalisa at double the volume of loudspeakers atop the mosques. If they (Muslims) don’t understand nicely, we will show them the power of Maharashtra, he added.
One journalist asked me why do you take a stand on loudspeakers today. I said that we chant Hanuman Chalisa and Muslims should listen. A Nashik journalist told me that he is a Muslim & that he also has a problem with loudspeakers. His children can't sleep: Raj Thackeray pic.twitter.com/Px3i8IpGwU
— ANI (@ANI) May 1, 2022
“Remove all loudspeakers even from temples and other religious places, but first remove (from) theirs (mosques),” he said at a mega rally in Aurangabad’s Marathwada Sanskrutik Mandal.
“If Uttar Pradesh could do it, then why not Maharashtra?” asked Thackeray. He also clarified that the issue hasn’t been raised now, but has been debated in the past too. “I was asked by a reporter why I suddenly demanded the removal of loudspeakers. I said, ‘suddenly’? No. This has been raised before too.”
He further added that the issue of loudspeakers is not religious, but social. “But if you make it a religious issue, we will answer it with religion,” the MNS chief said.
Thackeray had recently stoked a major controversy by giving an ultimatum to the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra that his workers will play the Hanuman Chalisa near mosques to drown the azaan till the authorities act upon loudspeakers at mosques. The statement drew various political reactions from all quarters, with the recent Amravati MP-MLA couple, Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana, being arrested after a face-off with the Shiv Sena over the issue.
The Aurangabad police had set a total of 16 terms and conditions while giving permission to the MNS chief to hold the rally. Thackeray was asked to avoid using offensive slogans, and religious, casteist and regional references during or after the rally. The public address held much significance as it came a day before India celebrates Eid and the deadline (May 3) of Thackeray’s anti-loudspeakers campaign on mosques neared.
(With PTI inputs)