Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Mahendra Bhanushali was taken into custody by the Mumbai police on Sunday, 3 April, for playing the Hanuman Chalisa on a loudspeaker without the required permission.
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Mahendra Bhanushali was briefly taken into custody by the Mumbai police on Sunday, 3 April, for playing the Hanuman Chalisa on a loudspeaker without the required permission.

This comes after MNS Chief Raj Thackeray urged the Maharashtra government on Saturday, 2 April, to remove loudspeakers from mosques, adding that if it was not done, he would play the Hanuman Chalisa on speakers.

After being taken into custody, Bhanushali said, “They’ve taken away my amplifier. But I’d like to say, in the coming times, ‘Jai Shree Ram’ will be played on loudspeakers,” ANI reported.

He also added that if action is taken against him, then it should also be taken wherever loudspeakers are used.

“No one takes permission, it isn’t just me. So action should be taken on everyone if it’s taken on me. The police did their job. Raj (Thackeray) Sahab says, never say anything to the police. Action should be taken wherever loudspeakers are used,” he said.
Bhanushali added that a fine of Rs 5,050 was imposed on him along with a warning of strict action in case of a repetition of the offence.

He also said that he would be meeting the MNS chief on Monday, 5 April, to brief him about what transpired. “Should enmity arise due to Hindu prayers? If anyone has problems with it, they should shut their ears and sit inside their houses. They’ll be given answers if they oppose such things. I’m meeting Raj Sahab tomorrow to brief him about what happened”.

During his speech on Saturday, Thackeray had said, “I am not against prayers, you can pray at your home, but the government should take a decision on removing mosque loudspeakers. I am warning now. Remove loudspeakers or else we will put loudspeakers in front of the mosque and play Hanuman Chalisa”.

The MNS chief made these comments while addressing workers of his party at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park.

Appeal to PM Modi to ‘Raid’ Mosques

Thackeray also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raid mosques in the Muslim-dominated areas of Mumbai, alleging that people living in those areas were supporters of Pakistan.

“I appeal to PM Modi to raid the madarasas at Muslim shanties. Pakistani supporters are residing in these shanties. Mumbai Police knows what’s happening there… Our MLAs are using them for vote-bank, such people don’t even have Aadhaar cards, but the MLAs get them made,” Thackeray added.

The MNS chief also lauded the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh, saying that the state had progressed tremendously and that he wanted Maharashtra to experience such development as well.

“I am happy to see that Uttar Pradesh is progressing. We want the same development in Maharashtra. I will visit Ayodhya, but today I will not tell when. I will also talk about Hindutva,” he added.

Law Still Prevails in Maharashtra: Sena’s Sanjay Raut

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut rejected Thackeray’s comments on Sunday, saying that the law of the land was supreme in Maharashtra.

“Raj Thackeray was talking about taking down the loudspeakers installed in mosques yesterday. First, see in which BJP ruled states Azaan has been stopped, loudspeakers removed from mosques… This is Maharashtra, where law of the land is followed,” Raut said while addressing the press in Mumbai.

Raut also likened the event at which the MNS chief spoke to a BJP event, indicating that Thackeray was dancing to the tune of the ruling government.

“People thought it (Thackeray’s event) was the BJP’s event. The law of the land prevails in Maharashtra. Home minister will do everything as per the law to ensure law and order in the state,” the Shiv Sena leader added.
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