Raj Thackeray reiterates illegal loudspeakers are not a religious issue but a social issue
Alleges government was targeting MNS and party workers on this issue
MVA partners are against Raj Thackeray’s arrest to avoid giving him a further footage and make him politically relevant
Instead MNS workers indulging in disruption of law & order to be detained
Mumbai: Undeterred by the offence registered against him and the detention of his party workers, MNS chief Raj Thackeray announced on Wednesday that his protest would continue until all illegal loudspeakers were removed.
“We will continue playing Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques at the time of Azaan until all illegal loudspeakers will be removed. Playing Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques is not a one-day affair. I have to see what the Supreme Court is doing if the government is not following its order. All illegal loudspeakers should be removed from mosques and until they are removed, we will continue our agitation,” he averred.
Raj Thackeray reiterated that the issue was not religious but social. “It’s not only about mosques, there are several temples where illegal loudspeakers are used. I have already made it clear that illegal loudspeakers are not a religious issue but a social issue,” he said. He further noted that “as far as I know, there are over 1,140 mosques in Mumbai. Of these, 135 mosques broadcast Azaan at 5am, violating the guidelines. We want peace in the state.”
He alleged that the government was targeting his MNS party workers on this issue. “I am getting calls from several places in the state. Many of my cadres have been detained. Why does it happen to us? Those who are following rules are facing action,” he said. “What actions are police taking against the 135 mosques that violated the SC guidelines today (Wednesday)? Police are only taking action against our workers,” he claimed.
Referring to the Supreme Court order, Thackeray said the volume of loudspeakers should not exceed 45-55 decibels, which is the level of sound generated by the use of the mixer-grinder in a kitchen.
His statement came in the wake of the detention of around 250-260 MNS activists across the state, since early Wednesday morning.
“There are many places where Azaan wasn’t played over loudspeakers. Our people were ready. I want to thank all those who understand the cause,” said Thackeray.
Raj Thackeray will not be arrested
The Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government has decided not to arrest MNS chief Raj Thackeray and thereby, make him politically relevant. The MVA partners, at their meeting on Wednesday, also decided that even though the Aurangabad police had filed a case against Thackeray, a charge sheet would soon be filed.
However, MVA leaders insisted that MNS workers disrupting law and order should be detained. This is to avoid falling into the BJP’s trap and give them another chance to corner the state government and demand the imposition of President’s rule in the state.
A senior MVA minister told The Free Press Journal, “The ruling partners are unanimous that Raj Thackeray’s arrest will only give him mileage to corner the MVA government, with the BJP orchestrating the moves. Already, he has stepped back from his earlier threat. After Aurangabad Police filed an FIR, Thackeray cancelled the ‘maha aartis’ slated for May 3 and later, he addressed a three-page appeal to Hindus and not just MNS workers. Police are on high alert and continue to take action against MNS workers and this will puncture Thackeray’s threat to continue his protest against illegal loudspeakers.”
Another MVA minister observed that the Azaan-Hanuman Chalisa row will not have any impact on upcoming local and civic body elections. “By extending its support, the BJP wants the MNS chief to keep firing salvos at the MVA government and make it one of the major issues in the ensuing civic and local body elections. However, this will not matter, mainly due to the government’s aggressive posture,” he said.
However, said the minister, the MVA partners insisted that police should remain alert and vigilant when it comes to acting against elements fomenting communal tension.