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Will not allow communal disharmony, says Maharashtra police on Raj Thackeray’s loudspeaker threat

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief has threatened to protest outside mosques from 4 May if loudspeakers were not taken down.

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New Delhi: The Maharashtra Police is prepared to quell any communal disharmony in the state, the police chief said Tuesday in the face of a threat by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to create trouble outside mosques from 4 May.

Director General of Police Rajnish Seth said the police would act against anyone trying to disturb communal harmony.

Seth also said the police were looking into an explosive speech by MNS chief Raj Thackeray in Aurangabad on Sunday.

Thackeray, in his address, had stayed firm on his 3 May deadline for mosques to take down loudspeakers used for the Muslim call to prayer, azaan.

The MNS leader, however, climbed down within 24 hours when he cancelled a ‘maha aarti’ in Mumbai’s Prabhadevi Temple scheduled for Tuesday evening. The planned ‘aarti’ was called off as Eid would be celebrated on 3 May, he said.

But Thackeray told his supporters in a tweet to stand by for his next instructions.

The state government, led by his estranged cousin and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, saw red after the Aurangabad speech.

Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil had said Monday that Thackeray’s speech was aimed at “creating a divide in society”, and hinted at action against him.

Necessary legal action would be taken against the MNS leader, the police chief said Tuesday.

Walse Patil held a meeting Tuesday with the Maharashtra police to review law and order in the state. Seth said: “We are capable of handling any situation. The state reserve police and home guards have been deployed throughout.”

Raj Thackeray reignited the loudspeaker controversy in the country by asking mosques to take them down by 3 May, failing which his party workers would play the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ outside these religious places from the next day.

If the Uttar Pradesh government could remove the loudspeakers – which he termed a nuisance — what was stopping the Maharashtra government, Thackeray asked at the Aurangabad public meeting.

Also read: ‘Who tore down Babri’ is new battle in Maharashtra as Shiv Sena, BJP & MNS seek ‘credit’

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