AURANGABAD: MNS Chief Raj Thackeray booked for ‘provocative speech’

AURANGABAD: Unfazed by a police case against him over his recent speech against loudspeakers on mosques, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, on Tuesday, urged Hindus to play the Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers, if they hear the loudspeakers “blaring the azan” from May 4. In a three-page letter to “countrymen and Hindu brothers, sisters and mothers”, the MNS chief said that they had conveyed to the Maharashtra government to remove the loudspeakers from mosques by May 4 but they stand “very feeble” on this issue.
“I appeal to all Hindus that tomorrow, the 4th of May, if you hear the loudspeakers blaring with azan; 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 his lengthy letter.
“All my Hindus should take this call ahead of shutting down the loudspeakers. This issue cannot be tackled in a day. One must be mentally prepared for this. All the politicians of this country should work towards it. And lastly, I reiterate the fact that each citizen should show the strength of what it is to be a Hindu,” the letter read.
Two days after the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) held a massive rally in Aurangabad, an FIR has been registered against party chief Raj Thackeray and Rajiv Jawalikar, the organiser of the rally, for allegedly violating the terms and conditions imposed by the police while granting permission for the rally. The police said Thackeray has been named the main accused in the case as he allegedly made provocative statements at the rally and “instigated” his supporters. The police have also issued notices to thousands of MNS workers. “The speech was provocative in nature and that can disrupt peace in society. Hence, an FIR has been registered,” said a senior officer with Aurangabad city police.Speaking at the rally on Sunday, Thackeray had reiterated the May 3 “deadline” for removal of loudspeakers from mosques in the state. He had also said that all Hindus should play the Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques from May 4 if loudspeakers were not removed. According to the Aurangabad police, they checked the CCTV footage and listened to the content of the “provocative speech” and said was given “with an intent to cause riots”. The police also said that they had imposed 16 conditions while giving permission for the rally, some of which were violated.The FIR has been registered under sections 116 (abetment), 117 (whoever abets the commission of an offence by the public generally or by any number or class of persons exceeding ten) and 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code and section 135 of the Maharashtra Police Act against Thackeray, Jawalikar and other unknown persons. On Monday, state home minister Dilip Walse Patil said that Thackeray’s rally was aimed at creating a divide in society. The minister had also indicated that legal action would be taken against the MNS chief.

The MNS chief also said that if one hears the mosques playing the loudspeakers, the citizens should dial 100 and lodge a complaint.
“I appeal to all Hindus that, make them hear our 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,” he added.
Citing the Supreme Court’s 2005 ruling regarding the installation of loudspeakers, Thackeray said, “In our country, many are giving references of the Supreme Court order. Due to the loudspeakers being used under the name of religion, the elderly, the sick, children, students etc are definitely disturbed and keeping this issue in mind, the Supreme Court has taken a decision. As per this order, loudspeakers cannot be used from 10 pm to 6 am.”
“Every religion can use the loudspeakers only for the duration of their festival days. It is not supposed to be used for 365 days. If you need to use the loudspeaker, the permission has to be taken on a daily basis,” he added. He further said that the Supreme Court has set time and decibel limits on the usage of loudspeakers. The MNS chief said that the loudspeakers and many of the mosques are unauthorized. “How is it possible that the government has given authorized permissions to unauthorized Masjids to use loudspeakers? And if permissions are being granted, then Hindu temples also need to be given permissions to play the loudspeakers,” he emphasized.
He also reiterated that this is not a religious issue but a social one and added that people of every religion of this country are exposed to noise pollution.
Thackeray asked which religion propagates “assembling and sitting on the middle of the roads” to pray and cause immense traffic jams. “This is the main reason for my statements to the Muslim community that this is a social issue affecting the public. Kindly take cognizance of the same. If steps are taken to turn this social issue into a religious one, then we too can give a befitting reply,” he warned.
The MNS chief said that years ago, Shiv Sena founder and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s father Balasaheb Thackeray had stated that “all loudspeakers need to be silenced”. He asked his estranged cousin if he is going to listen to his father’s demand or follow what “non-religious” NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who he said is responsible to keep him in power, will say.
“The Hindu festivals are restricted by silent zones under the façade of schools and hospitals being around. However, masjids are exempt from such restrictions. Which part of our Constitution states this?” he asked. He welcomed the decision by all those mosques that have stopped using the loudspeakers, keeping in mind the misuse and disturbance caused by it.
“I also appeal to my Hindu brothers not to cause any inconvenience to all those masjids who have stopped using the loudspeakers. I am completely aware, that there are many Muslims who are troubled by the nuisance of these loudspeakers. Unfortunately, they cannot openly voice their dissent due to their uncompromising religious leaders,” he said.
(Bureau Report with Media Inputs).
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