Maharashtra loudspeaker row: Cops alert as Raj Thackeray's deadline ends
As Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray's deadline for the removal of loudspeakers from mosques ended on Tuesday, the Maharashtra Police is on alert. Heavy police forces were deployed at several places in Mumbai and adjoining cities on Wednesday. To recall, Thackeray had called on "Hindu brothers" to play Hanuman Chalisa loudly outside mosques if the loudspeakers there weren't removed by Tuesday.
- India has been reeling under a spate of communal clashes in recent weeks—with the Jodhpur violence being the latest.
- And, Thackeray's demand last month for the removal of loudspeakers from mosques—calling it a "nuisance"—triggered a new row in Maharashtra.
- Meanwhile, Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray accused the MNS of being the BJP's "B Team" attempting to cut into Sena's vote bank.
As the MNS's deadline ended, the morning prayers at many mosques in the state were offered peacefully, PTI reported. Most mosques in Maharashtra's Kalyan didn't use loudspeakers for the morning "azaan." In Panvel, an MNS worker reportedly said they were ready to play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers. But the MNS didn't do so since three mosques in the area kept loudspeakers off for "azaan".
The police reportedly met maulvis and trustees of various mosques in Mumbai, asking them to follow the Supreme Court's guidelines on noise pollution. Meanwhile, heavy police deployment was also done in Palghar and near Jumma Masjid in Thane's Mumbra township as MNS workers were prepared to play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers. However, they left after the "azaan" was not heard outside the mosque premises.
Taking no chances of any untoward incident happening in the state, the Maharashtra government has reportedly taken extensive steps to maintain law and order. The Maharashtra Police canceled all leaves of the police personnel. Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey and senior officials were also taking stock of the security deployment in various parts of the city. Police personnel were also deployed outside some mosques.
Meanwhile, the Aurangabad Police on Tuesday registered a case against Thackeray and the organizers of his Aurangabad rally, where he gave a controversial speech on Sunday. In Aurangabad, Thackeray asserted if Muslims continued using loudspeakers at mosques, "they will have to listen to our prayers on loudspeakers." "If they [Muslims] don't understand nicely, we will show them the power of Maharashtra," he had stated.