New Delhi: A post with a photograph of people offering namaz outside the Bandra railway station in Mumbai has been doing the rounds on social media sites, especially Twitter.
These posts claim that Uddhav Thackeray’s Maharashtra government is biased towards a particular community.
Users have asked why namaz was allowed in public but chanting the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ was not. This was in reference to the recent arrests of the politician couple Navneet and Ravi Rana who wanted to chant the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ outside Thackeray’s home.
One account, which goes by the handle @pallavict, tweeted, “How shocking! How dare they? Navneet & Ravi Rana & others chanting Hanuman Chalisa outside & inside Bandra Station Now next !! At Shivajipark.”
How dare they?
Navneet & Ravi Rana & others chanting Hanuman Chalisa outside & inside Bandra Station
Now next !!
At Shivajipark 👍👍
— PallaviCT (@pallavict) April 28, 2022
The account bio says, ‘Co-convenor BJP Mumbai – IT and SM Cell’. It is also notable that the account is followed by prominent leaders of the BJP like Kapil Mishra, Ashok Goel, Ashwini Upadhyay, Piyush Goyal and Shefali Vaidya.
Another user, referring to the arrest of Ravi and Navneet Rana tweeted, “A friendly reminder, make sure not to chant #HanumanChalisa while in Mumbai. Offering namaz around Bandra railway station will be applauded though”
A FRIENDLY REMINDER:●●●●●●●●
Make sure not to chant #HanumanChalisa while in Mumbai
Offering Namaz around Bandra railway station will be applauded though. pic.twitter.com/0K64OEcavQ
— The Liebrand™🇮🇳 (@Thelullz) April 24, 2022
What is the controversy
Maharashtra has been alert ever since politician Raj Thackeray made a call to ban the use of loudspeakers for Azaan, an Islamic call to prayer.
Following this, the Nashik Police ordered religious places to seek permission before using loudspeakers. The incident escalated as when Thackeray asked people to play ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ in front of mosques that did not take down loudspeakers.
While that was going on, independent MP-MLA couple Navneet and Ravi Rana added fuel to the fire when they said they would recite the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ in front of Matoshree, CM Uddhav Thackeray’s personal residence.
The couple were arrested as Shiv Sena workers filed a police complaint over the controversial statement.
The image in the post, which has been shared widely is not recent as suggested, but is from a prayer offered on Ramadan in August 2012 outside the Bandra railway station in Mumbai.
The Congress was in power in Maharashtra then with Prithviraj Chavan as Chief Minister.
Users feel the photograph has been used conveniently by right-wing handles to escalate the recent controversy and polarise politics in the state.
(In collaboration with SM Hoaxslayer)