Raj Thackeray Aurangabad rally: Case filed against MNS chief, organizers
The Aurangabad Police has registered a case against the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) supremo Raj Thackeray and organizers of his Aurangabad rally, where he gave a controversial speech on Sunday. The case was filed after the police reportedly saw videos of the rally, in which Thackeray directed his followers to play Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques on Wednesday if the loudspeakers there weren't taken down.
- Last month, during his Thane rally, Thackeray issued an ultimatum to the Maharashtra government led by his estranged cousin—Uddhav Thackeray.
- He declared if loudspeakers weren't taken down from mosques by May 3 (Tuesday), they would play Hanuman Chalisa loudly outside mosques.
- On Sunday, Thackeray violated conditions set by police for holding the Aurangabad rally, following which a case was filed against him on Tuesday.
Addressing the public rally in Aurangabad, Thackeray had said, "I won't be responsible for what all happens after the...deadline to remove the loudspeakers from the mosques." "If they [Muslims] don't understand nicely, we will show them the power of Maharashtra," he stated. "All loudspeakers [atop the mosques] are illegal. Is it a concert that so many loudspeakers are being used?" the MNS chief questioned.
Thackeray further attacked Maharashtra's government while narrating selective episodes from history involving Alauddin Khilji and Aurangzeb. Singling out Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar, Thackeray accused him of sowing discord among citizens through caste politics. He alleged Pawar was allergic to the word "Hindu."
While granting Thackeray permission for the rally, the Aurangabad Police earlier laid down 16 conditions for him. He was asked not to use offensive slogans or make religious, casteist, or regional remarks. However, the event came under the police scanner after Thackeray went ahead with his controversial speech, just two days before Eid and his May 3 deadline, while violating the aforementioned conditions.
As the MNS's deadline approached, Maharashtra DGP Rajnish Seth stated on Tuesday the police were well prepared to deal with any law and order situation on Wednesday. Seth also said those who attempt to disrupt the state's communal harmony will be prosecuted. CM Uddhav Thackeray also chaired a meeting on the issue which was attended by Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil among others.
Commenting on the police lodging a case against Thackeray, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said such actions are expected if someone gives a provocative speech. "Such cases are filed across the country... What is the big deal about it?" he added. Meanwhile, the head of the MNS Aurangabad unit has reportedly stated any command from the party's chief on the issue "will be followed."