Loudspeaker row: Maharashtra Police on alert as MNS's deadline approaches
As the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's (MNS) deadline for the removal of loudspeakers from mosques approached, the Maharashtra Police reportedly canceled all leaves of the police personnel. The police said they are on the alert to tackle any untoward situation. The move comes after MNS chief Raj Thackeray on Sunday reiterated his call to play Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques from Wednesday if loudspeakers weren't removed.
Why does this story matter?
- Amid a spate of communal incidents last month, Thackeray called on "Hindu brothers" to "be prepared" to play Hanuman Chalisa loudly outside mosques if their loudspeakers aren't removed by Tuesday.
- He had also termed loudspeakers atop mosques a "nuisance."
- Meanwhile, Shiv Sena president and Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray—amid criticism of abandoning "Hindutva"—defined his party's brand of Hindutva as one of "nationalism and not communalism."
Maharashtra Police prepared for any law and order situation
Talking to NDTV, Maharashtra DGP Rajnish Seth said, "The police are prepared for any law and order situation (on Wednesday)." He added Thackeray's controversial Sunday speech in Aurangabad was also being "looked into." Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police issued notices to at least 100 people under CrPC Section 149 for preventing cognizable offenses. MNS leaders Nitin Sardesai and Bala Nandgaonkar were also on this list.
All police leaves canceled, security enhanced in state
Asserting the Maharashtra Police was "alert and on ready mode," Seth issued a strict warning to those trying to disrupt the law and order situation in Maharashtra. Moreover, 87 State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) companies and 30,000 home guards have been deployed across Maharashtra to handle any law and order-related situation, he said. All leaves of the police personnel have been canceled, Seth added.
MNS chief's speech being scrutinized by police
The Maharashtra DGP also said "legal action will be taken if needed" against Thackeray after scrutinizing his Aurangabad speech. Seth also met Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil on Tuesday and reviewed the law and order situation before the MNS chief's deadline ends. Meanwhile, reports said the police are taking additional precautions to avoid any untoward situation in the central Mumbai area—an MNS stronghold.
'Azaan' on loudspeakers more of social issue than religious
Last month, Thackeray said relaying "azaan" on loudspeakers was more of a social issue than religious. He had asserted if Muslims continue using loudspeakers at mosques, "they will have to listen to our prayers on loudspeakers." He added he doesn't want peace to be disturbed. On Sunday, however, he said, "If they [Muslims] don't understand nicely, we will show them the power of Maharashtra."