Mumbai: Political row over Hauman Chalisa erupted after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray served the ultimatum to the Maharashtra government to remove loudspeakers from mosques by May 3.
Independent Lok sabha MP Navneet Rana and her husband Ravi Rana, an MLA, afterwards announced their plan to chant Hanuman Chalisa in front of the residence of the Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray.
The ruling Shiv Sena led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state alleged that the Rana couple acted at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The row gained momentum after the Shiv Sena workers held protests at the residence of the Rana couple, who were later arrested by the state police, and subsequently sent to judicial custody.
Here's how the row erupted.
What is Hanuman Chalisa?
Hanuman Chalisa is a devotional hymn dedicated to Lord Hanuman. It was written by Tulsidas when he was imprisoned. Notably, the epic scripture Ramayana depicts Lord Hanuman as the close companion of Lord Ram.
How did Hanuman Chalisa row erupt?
The MNS chief Raj Thackeray threatened the Maharashtra government to remove loudspeakers from mosques by May 3. He also threatened to play Hanuman Chalisa outside the mosques if his demand was not met. The BJP supported his demand. It is worth noting that several mosques across the country broadcast the Azaan (i.e. call to prayer) by loudspeakers.
How did the protests escalate?
The Lok Sabha MP Navneet Rana and her husband Ravi Rana , an MLA, joined the row on April 23, threatening to hold protests outside Maharashtra Chief Minister's residence 'Matoshree' and chant Hanuman Chalisa if the demands of the MNS chief were not met.
Later, Shiv Sena workers held protests at the residence of the Rana couple.
Notably, Navneet Rana is also a popular actress in South Indian cinema. the Ranas were sent to judicial custody for 14 days. Navneet Rana was taken to Mumbai's Byculla Jail and her husband to the Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on April 25 broke his silence on the Hanuman Chalisa row and issued a stern warning, stating that Shiv Sainiks know how to counter "dadagiri".
Speaking at an event, the Chief Minister warned MP Navneet Kaur Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana that if they resort to "dadagiri", his government knows how to counter it. "If you want to recite Hanuman Chalisa, call and come home. But if you resort to 'dadagiri' we know how to crush it," said Uddhav Thackeray.
Bharatiya Janata Party's reaction to the incident Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and the BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis lashed out at Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray by calling him 'intolerant' and demanded to know how the state government put sedition charges for chanting Hanuman Chalisa against the Rana couple.
Ripple Effect in other states after the incident Uttar Pradesh The Shri Krishna Janmasthan Temple in Mathura discontinued the use of loudspeakers following a direction from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Karnataka: Hindu organizations in Karnataka complained about the noise pollution due to the use of loudspeakers by mosques. Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai stated that the loudspeaker row in the state would be solved by speaking to stakeholders. He cited the High Court order regarding Azaan and said that the installation of decibel meters is being implemented in stages.
Madhya Pradesh: The BJP MP from Bhopal Pragya Thakur demanded that "the system of worship which gives pain to someone else" should stop. Madhya Pradesh Congress state media in-charge Jitu Patwari on Monday said that there is nothing wrong in reciting Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeaker.