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Heavy Security Deployed in Mumbai, Neighbouring Areas Amid Loudspeaker Row

Only 135 mosques out of 1440 played 'azaan' in Mumbai on Wednesday

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Transcontinental Times Staff
Transcontinental Times Staffhttps://www.transcontinentaltimes.com
Submissions filed under "Staff" are acredited to their authors at the bottom of the article if any.

INDIA. Mumbai: MNS workers played Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers during the first namaz at 5 a.m. on Wednesday in Mumbai’s Charkop district, hours after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray set the stage for a possible conflict by urging people to display the “strength of a Hindu now or never.” Only 135 mosques out of 1440 played ‘azaan’ in Mumbai on Wednesday.

In the wake of the loudspeaker controversy, security has been beefed up outside the MNS chief’s Mumbai home.

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On the other hand, Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey is visiting several police stations to assess the city’s law and order condition.

In addition, police in Pune have increased security around the Puneshswar Hanuman Temple in the Kasba Peth region after the MNS stated that it would hold a “Maha Arti” in the temple amid a loudspeaker row.

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Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil will hold a press conference at his residence in Mumbai on Wednesday morning amid rising tensions in the state.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi described the loudspeaker vs. Hanuman Chalisa debate as a war of existence between two brothers. “They are competing over whose loudspeaker should be the loudest and trying to disrupt the communal harmony of this country,” Naqvi said.

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Naqvi, who described Uttar Pradesh as a “model peaceful state,” said that loudspeaker issues should be dealt with in the same way they have been in UP.

Late on Tuesday, Raj Thackeray urged people to play “Hanuman Chalisa” outside mosques where “azaans” (prayer calls) will be sounded beginning Wednesday.

“I appeal to all Hindus that if you hear azaans over the loudspeakers tomorrow, May 4, play the Hanuman Chalisa on those very loudspeakers. They’ll realize how inconvenient these loudspeakers are!” he exclaimed.

The MNS chief claimed in a statement released here that while silent zones under the facades of schools and hospitals restrict Hindu festivities, mosques are exempt from such restrictions.

“I appeal to all Hindus to make them hear Hanuman Chalisa, all local mandals and vigilant citizens should start a signature drive against it and submit the appeal letter with signatures daily to the local police station, and citizens should dial 100 and lodge a complaint if they hear the masjids playing loudspeakers,” he stated.

The estranged cousin of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged the police to demonstrate that the country is “ruled by law and order, and unlicensed mosques, loudspeakers, and prayers being held in the middle of the roadways ought to be treated accordingly.”

Reiterating to Muslims that this was a social issue, not a religious one, Raj Thackeray said he applauded mosques that have attempted to limit loudspeakers due to overuse and disturbances. He also told Hindus not to harass mosques that had abandoned the use of loudspeakers.

Recognizing that the problem cannot be solved in a single day, he urged all Hindus to take action ahead of the planned shutdown of loudspeakers, to mentally prepare for it, for all politicians to work toward it, and for “each citizen to show the strength of what it means to be a Hindu.”

He cited Supreme Court rules on the times, decibel levels, and other features of loudspeakers by all religions for the duration of their festivals, but not for 365 days, and so on.

Raj Thackeray wanted to remind his cousin and Chief Minister of the late Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray, who wished all loudspeakers turned off.

“Are you going to pay attention to what I’m saying? Or will you follow the non-religious Sharad Pawar, who is in charge of keeping you in power? Let Maharashtra’s people see what’s going to happen,” he remarked.

He went on to say that the country does not have many jails in which Hindus can be arrested and that governments should recognize this fact.

“Come together, my beloved Hindu brothers, sisters, and mothers, and be one in bringing these loudspeakers down! It will never happen unless we act immediately,” he stated.

When clearance was obtained for Raj’s May 1 protest in Aurangabad, the police charged him with violating police restrictions, and the police initiated a state-wide crackdown on MNS supporters.

The Maharashtra Police Department swung into a high-alert mode, cancelling all security leave, deploying 30,000 home guards, and other precautions to deal with Raj Thackeray’s “ultimatum” to avoid any adverse situations.

Also Read: Tension in Patiala Due to Demonstration against Pro-Khalistan Elements


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