Maharashtra Hanuman Chalisa row: Ranas sent to 14-day judicial custody
Maharashtra independent MLA Ravi Rana and his wife, Amravati MP Navneet Rana, were sent to 14-day judicial custody by Mumbai's Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate Court on Sunday. This came a day after a high-voltage tussle between Shiv Sena and the Ranas ended in their arrest. The couple was arrested after their announcement of a Hanuman Chalisa recital outside CM Uddhav Thackeray's residence sparked widespread protests.
Why does this story matter?
- The Hanuman Chalisa controversy is the latest one brewing in Maharashtra after MNS chief Raj Thackeray earlier this month demanded loudspeakers be removed from mosques.
- Last week, MLA Rana reportedly demanded CM Thackeray to read Hanuman Chalisa on Hanuman Jayanti but the latter refused to do so.
- Following this, the MLA-MP couple said they would organize a Hanuman Chalisa recital outside the CM's residence.
Why did Ranas plan Hanuman Chalisa recital outside CM's house?
Last week, MLA Rana told reporters, "Uddhav Saheb has forgotten Hindutva, the ideology on which he sought votes and got seats. He has forgotten the teachings of Balasaheb (Shiv Sena founder)." "So, we will recite Hanuman Chalisa outside Matoshree (CM's residence) at 9:00 am on Saturday to remind the CM of Balasaheb's teachings. We will not cause any inconvenience to Mumbaikars," he had said.
What happened at the Bandra court today?
The Bandra court's holiday bench remanded the Ranas in 14-day judicial custody, denying the police request for the couple's custody for seven days. The couple's lawyer, Rizwan Merchant, reportedly filed a bail application after they were sent to judicial custody. The police will file a response on the Ranas' bail petition by April 27. The duo's bail plea will be heard on April 29.
Shiv Sena workers protested at Ranas' residence yesterday
Enraged by the Ranas' call to protest outside Thackeray's house, Shiv Sena workers on Saturday surrounded the couple's Khar residence, raising slogans against them. Despite heavy police deployment, hundreds of party workers pushed through barricades and entered the MLA-MP couple's building premises. Later, the Ranas claimed they had canceled their Hanuman Chalisa recital outside the CM's residence due to PM Narendra Modi's Mumbai visit.
Ranas arrested on Saturday, 6 Sena workers held on Sunday
Later on Saturday, the Ranas were arrested for inciting enmity between different groups. However, the couple demanded an FIR be filed against CM Thackeray and Shiv Sena leaders for threatening them. The Mumbai Police also filed an FIR against unidentified individuals who gathered outside Ranas' home and threatened them. Six Sena workers were arrested on Sunday for creating ruckus outside the MLA-MP couple's residence.
'The arrest is absolutely illegal': Merchant
Calling the Ranas' arrest "illegal," lawyer Merchant earlier said, "Both of them were locked inside their house, honoring Section 149 notice. So, the arrest is absolutely illegal." To recall, the police last week issued the Ranas a notice under CrPC Section 149, requesting them not to disrupt the law and order situation. Section 149 allows authorities to take measures to avoid a cognizable offense.
Couple booked under IPC, Bombay Police Act sections
The politician couple has been booked under IPC Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 34 (common intention), reported Hindustan Times. The Ranas were also charged under Sections 37(1) and 135 of the Bombay Police Act.
BJP, AAP respond to the developments
Maharashtra BJP leaders protested outside the Bandra police station Saturday night, while ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis slammed Sena for "losing control in the state." Meanwhile, AAP leader Preeti Sharma Menon sarcastically tweeted, "I suggest Uddhav Thackeray should organize a week-long repetitive chant of Hanuman Chalisa." Adding he should invite Raj Thackeray and Fadnavis, she wrote, "They can have their fill...our state can continue to function."