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‘Not a one-day issue,’ Raj Thackeray threatens to continue protests against mosque loudspeakers

Civic elections in Maharashtra are around the corner, ruling Shiv Sena has accused MNS of being the ‘B Team’ of opposition BJP.

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New Delhi: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray said Wednesday his party would continue to play ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ outside mosques during azaan until they took down all ‘illegal’ loudspeakers.

“I have to see what the Supreme Court is doing if the government does not follow its order,” Thackeray said, alluding to a 2005 top court verdict that banned loudspeakers between 10 pm and 6 am in public.

The MNS chief had given an ultimatum of 4 May when his cadres would start protesting outside mosques that did not stop using the loudspeaker for azaan.

That deadline, however, came and went as the Maharashtra Police pulled out all stops to thwart any communal trouble Wednesday. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had instructed the police to not wait for orders while cracking down on rioting MNS party workers, led by his estranged cousin Raj.

But Raj Thackeray sounded defiant Wednesday. “This is not a one-day issue. If mosques don’t follow guidelines, Hanuman Chalisa will be played at double the volume,” he said.

The MNS chief, however, had toned down his ‘hard Hindutva’ voice when he said on the eve of Eid that loudspeakers were not a religious but a social issue.

He reiterated Wednesday: “It’s not only about mosques… There are several temples where illegal loudspeakers operate. I have already made it clear that it’s (illegal loudspeakers) not a religious issue but a social issue.”

He also wanted to know what action the state would take against the 135 mosques that played the loudspeaker before 6 am on Wednesday. “We want peace in the state. What action will you take against these mosques? You are only rounding up our workers,” he asked the state government.

Nearly 250 MNS workers have been detained across the state, including top party leaders. Their chief, himself, faces a court case for making a provocative speech in Aurangabad on Sunday where he stood firm on his decision to play the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ in front of mosques.

Civic body elections in Maharashtra are around the corner and the Shiv Sena has accused the MNS of being the ‘B Team’ of opposition the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Also read: Amid loudspeaker row MVA meeting underway with Maharashtra Dy CM Ajit Pawar, NCP chief Sharad Pawar


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