Hanuman Chalisa Row: Rana Couple Refuses to Seek Bail After Arrest for ‘Promoting Enmity’

BJP MP Navneet Kaur Rana and husband MLA Ravi Rana address a press conference, in Mumbai. (Image: PTI Photo)

BJP MP Navneet Kaur Rana and husband MLA Ravi Rana address a press conference, in Mumbai. (Image: PTI Photo)

BJP MP Navneet Rana and husband, MLA Ravi Rana, were arrested hours after they cancelled their plan to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray’s family home Matoshree

After a whole day of high drama on Saturday, BJP MP Navneet Rana from Maharashtra and her husband, MLA Ravi Rana, were arrested and booked for allegedly promoting enmity among different groups. But, soon after, the Rana couple refused to seek bail and told their lawyers that they should not do so as well on their behalf.

“We will stay inside as a mark of protest against the false case and wrongful arrest,” the couple said after lodging a counter-complaint against Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Sources close to the Amravati MP and her husband said their medical procedure was over and they will be produced before a Bandra holiday court on Sunday.

The police took them into custody hours after the couple cancelled their plan to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside Thackeray’s private residence ‘Matoshree’ in Mumbai. Shiv Sainiks had staged a massive protest outside the couple’s Khar residence, demanding an apology from them.

Here are all the updates from the day-long back-and-forth between the Ranas and the ruling Shiv Sena:

  1. Rana couple refuses to seek bail
    Amravati MP Navneet Kaur Rana and her husband, MLA Ravi Rana, refused to seek bail and asked their lawyers to not do so on their behalf. The couple said, “We will stay inside as a mark of protest against the false case and wrongful arrest.” Sources close to the couple said the two had undergone their medical procedure and were ready to be produced before the court on Sunday. Police will present Navneet and Ravi Rana before the Bandra holiday court. All videos and press conference footage of the couple are being collected for analysis by the Mumbai Police.
  2. Ranas arrested, booked for “promoting enmity”
    Mumbai Police arrested the Ranas for allegedly “creating enmity between different groups” after escorting them out of their house in suburban Khar amid high drama. The couple was booked under IPC section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), and section 135 of the Mumbai Police Act (violation of prohibitory orders of police).
  3. Navneet and Ravi Rana lodge complaint against CM Uddhav Thackeray
    Once they were brought to Khar police station, the couple submitted a complaint against CM Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and Sena leader and state transport minister Anil Parab, accusing them of instigating people to “kill” the couple. But no case had been registered yet, police said.
  4. Sena Supporters Booked for trying to storm into Ranas’ residence
    An FIR was registered against Shiv Sena supporters who allegedly tried entering the building in Khar where Navneet and Ravi Rana were staying. The supporters, who were camping outside the apartment, broke through barricades around but police stopped them. Taking a serious view of the incident, Sena supporters were also booked at Khar police station under relevant sections of the IPC.
  5. Can’t touch me without a warrant, Navneet Rana tells police
    A heated argument ensued between the Ranas and police at the couple’s Khar residence. In a Facebook Live posted on her official handle on the social networking site, Navneet Rana and the cops can be seen having a heated conversation. In the video, the MP is saying she “cannot be touched without a warrant” while her husband looks on. In one instance, she is also heard asking the police to “lower their tone as she is an MP”.
  6. Ranas go back on Hanuman Chalisa “dare”
    The Ranas cancelled their plan to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside Matoshree amid stiff resistance by the ruling Shiv Sena. They said they did not want to disturb the law and order situation in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mumbai for an event. The Ranas announced the decision while speaking to the media in the afternoon at their residence, outside which a large number of Shiv Sena workers were camping since morning, taking an aggressive stand that if the politician couple tries to go ahead with their plan, they would be taught a lesson. Navneet Rana said their aim had been fulfilled as “bhakts” chanted the Hanuman Chalisa outside ‘Matoshree’. “Our aim was fulfilled, though Ravi Rana and I couldn’t reach ‘Matoshree’ (CM Uddhav Thackeray’s residence), Hanuman Chalisa supposed to be chanted by us was chanted by bhakts outside the CM’s residence,” she added.
  7. Sena activists break through barricades to enter Ranas’ home
    Shiv Sena workers broke through the barricades and tried entering the premises of the Khar residence of Navneet and Ravi Rana. But the situation was brought under control, police said, adding that the politician couple was asked not to step out of their home as the situation might escalate. “Around 8.45 am, angry Shiv Sena supporters broke through the barricades, placed at a distance of around 50 m from the building, where the Ranas own a flat in Khar. They tried to enter the apartment premises. The party workers raised slogans in support of CM Thackeray and dared the couple to step out of the residence,” police said. Mumbai Police had served a notice to the couple, asking them not to disturb the law and order situation in the city after they told reporters that they will recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside Thackeray’s family residence if he did not agree to read it.
  8. High security outside Matoshree and Varsha
    Police were deployed in large numbers outside Matoshree, the personal residence of Thackeray in suburban Bandra, after Navneet and Ravi Rana announced their plan to recite the Hanuman Chalisa there. Sena workers had begun to camp outside the house since morning as the couple said they were firm on their plan to recite the Chalisa outside the Thackeray residence.
  9. 80-year-old woman steals the show
    An octogenarian woman became the unlikely star of the Shiv Sena’s protest against Navneet and Ravi Rana outside Matoshree. She also caught Thackeray’s attention, who invited her inside for a tete-a-tete. Chandrabhaga Ganpat Shinde was among hundreds of Sena supporters camping outside to confront the Ranas. Shinde, wearing a saffron saree, was seen shouting slogans. She attracted the attention of others, and soon a new slogan was coined: ‘Ravi Rana kayar hain, aajji amchi fire hain (Ravi Rana is a coward and our grandma (Aajji) is fire)’. Shinde responded by saying jhukenga nahin, evoking a popular line from the film Pushpa.

(With PTI inputs)

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