Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray called a key meet on Tuesday with senior leaders of his party at his residence to discuss further course of action on chanting Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers outside mosques. Meanwhile, the Aurangabad police today registered a case against him under sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 116 (abetment of an offence punishable with imprisonment-if offence be not committed) and 117 (abetting commission of an offence by the public or by more than 10 persons) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Maharashtra Police Act.
An official from the city Chowk police said the organisers of Thackeray’s rally were also booked. In the Aurangabad rally on May 1, Thackeray had asked people to play Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques from May 4 if loudspeakers there were not removed.
Sensing this, the MNS supremo has already lined up a battery of 2,000 lawyers to fight legal cases if their workers are booked. So far, 75,000 MNS party workers have been served police notice under section 149 across Maharashtra.
Navnirman Sena karyakartas have sent letters to various police stations across the state seeking permission to play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers outside mosques from Wednesday (May 4).
Meanwhile, a meeting of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and State Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil is underway over the law and order situation.
On the other hand, Maharashtra DGP Rajnish Seth expressed confidence over handling “any situation” and warned against strict action for miscreants. “We are capable to handle any situation and we are fully prepared. We have instructed all our police to handle miscreants strictly. No one should try to take law in to their hands,” he said.
On Raj Thackeray’s Aurangabad speech, he said, “The Commissioner of Police (Aurangabad) is looking into it. As many as 87 companies of SRPF deployed and more than 30, 000 home guards have been deployed. Action can be taken by today itself,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Magistrate Court in Sangli had issued a non-bailable warrant against Raj Thackeray on April 6 in connection with a case in 2008. He has been charged under sections 143, 109, 117, IPC in the Criminal Amendment and 135 of the Bombay Police Act.
Raj Thackeray said on Monday that Muslims would not be disturbed from celebrating Eid on Tuesday.
“Tomorrow is Eid, and Muslims must celebrate this festival with joy. As per the pre-decided programmes for Akshaya Tritiya, do not perform aartis’ tomorrow,” Raj said in an open appeal to all his partymen.
He also made it clear that the MNS shall not create tensions while celebrating the festival, since the issue of loudspeakers is not a religious one but a social cause, as he mentioned at his huge rally in Aurangabad on Sunday night.
On the loudspeaker row, Raj Thackeray said he would announce his plan of action on Tuesday via social media, even as Aurangabad Police scanned his speech to detect any legal violations.
The development came a day after he breathed fire over the use of loudspeakers at mosques during a rally in Aurangabad, earning the ire of most political parties in the state, especially the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance.
At the rally, he reiterated his ultimatum (May 4) of yanking off loudspeakers from all religious places, particularly mosques, by Wednesday failing which his party workers would blare out ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ at double decibel levels in the state.
The MNS chief came in for massive criticism from the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP), Sambhaji Brigade (S), Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VA) and other top leaders for his utterances laced with hidden threats.