Ranas to Visit Delhi Today, Inform Home Ministry of ‘Mistreatment in Custody’; BMC to Search Their Home

Hanuman Chalisa Row: Independent MLA Navneet Rana and her husband Ravi Rana will visit Delhi today and inform Home Ministry officials about the sedition charges against them, ‘vendetta politics’ through BMC action and their mistreatment in custody. And back home, the civic body officials are likely to visit the Ranas’ residence for a search.

As Navneet Rana was discharged from the Lilawati Hospital yesterday after her earlier release on bail, she talked to the media at large, challenging Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to contest against her. She also said “if reciting the Hanuman Chalisa was a crime, she would do it again and again”, calling it a “religious fight she would carry on”. This seemed to be in violation of her bail order, which had directed her to not speak to the media about the case while out. Special PP Pradeep Gharat will move for a cancellation bail of the Rana couple, for the violation of their bail conditions.

Top updates in the story:

• Independent MP Navneet Rana, who recently got bail after being arrested by Mumbai police last month over ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ recitation row, on Sunday challenged Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to contest an election against her. She also claimed that people of Mumbai and Lord Ram will teach the Shiv Sena a lesson in civic polls.

• Shiv Sena president Thackeray, who became the CM in November 2019 after forging an alliance with the NCP and Congress, took oath as member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council in May 2020. Prior to that, he was not a member of the state legislature.

• Navneet Rana, the MP from Amravati in Maharashtra, and her MLA-husband Ravi Rana were arrested on April 23 by the Mumbai police after the couple announced that they would recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside CM Thackeray’s private residence `Matoshree’ here, which angered workers of the Shiv Sena, Thackeray’s party, leading to tension.

• The couple was granted bail on May 4 by a special Mumbai court. They walked out of jail on May 5 following which Navneet Rana was admitted to a private hospital here. Her lawyer then said she had complaints of high blood pressure, bodyache and spondylitis.

• Talking to reporters on Sunday after being discharged from the hospital, the Navneet Rana said, “I challenge Uddhav Thackeray ji to chose a constituency and get elected directly by people. I will fight against him.” “I will work hard with honesty and win the election, and he (the CM) will know the people’s power,” she said. “What crime did I commit that I was jailed for 14 days? You can put me in jail for 14 years, but I will not stop chanting the names of Lord Ram and Hanuman. Mumbaikars and Lord Ram will teach the Shiv Sena a lesson in the civic polls,” the parliamentarian said.

• Navneet Rana also said she will campaign in Mumbai and support ‘Ram bhakts’ (followers of Lord Ram) to end the “corrupt rule” of the Shiv Sena. This Shiv Sena shares power in the state with the NCP and Congress. The Thackeray-led party also controls the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Notably, CM Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya Thackeray is the first from the family to enter the electoral fray.

• “We have started our Hanuman Chalisa program from today onwards. Sri Ram Sene workers who went to Bengaluru’s Hanuman temple to play Hanuman Chalisa have been arrested by Ashok Nagar police Station and Revenu minister R Ashok is behind this and we condemn his act,” Shri Siddalinga Swamiji, Karuneshwar Mutt.

• Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik announced on Sunday that the playing of Hanuman Chalisa, Suprabhata, Omkara, or devotional songs will begin at 5 a.m. on May 9 at over 1,000 temples across Karnataka, accusing the state government of failing to act against loudspeakers erected at mosques.

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