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MNS’s Agitation Against Loudspeakers on Mosques Also Leads to Communal Amity

With agitation by MNS activists continued, the situation remained fluid in different parts of Maharashtra

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

INDIA. MUMBAI: Even as police machinery remained alert to avoid any communal flare-up, following Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief Raj Thackeray’s demand to remove the loudspeakers on Mosques, the agitation brought to the fore some rare examples of communal amity.

The office bearers: Malang, Faiyaz, Kadar Bijpure, and Ibrahim Shaikh of the mosque located at Kalwa in Thane district, themselves removed the loudspeakers from the mosque and submitted them to the Mahatma Phule Nagar Police station on Thursday. The mosque is 24 years old, and the Azan has been played over loudspeakers for several years. 

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This was preceded by a meeting police officers held with Maulavis on Wednesday. Due to this gesture of the mosque office bearers, DCP Avinash Ambure, ACP Vyankat Andhale Senior Police Inspector Manohar Awhad felicitated them with flower bouquets.

MNS Corporator Salim Shaikh supported Raj Thackeray in Pune and opined that no loudspeaker is required in mosques. The controversy would not have erupted if they were not installed in the initial stage. Whereas MNS Pune Chief Vasant More, who had opposed the party chief’s stand from the beginning, has convened a meeting of the Muslim leaders in his constituency to resolve the dispute. There are a sizable number of Muslim voters in the Katraj area.

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In sparsely populated Kelwad village in Buldhana in Vidarbha, the villagers presented a rare example of gifting a loudspeaker to the only mosque in the village. The mosque had no loudspeaker till now. This is the village where freedom fighter Krantisinh Nana Patil had organized a training camp for villagers to prepare themselves to take on the Britishers during the pre-Independence era.

With agitation by MNS activists continued, the situation remained fluid in different parts of Maharashtra.

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Nashik (North Maharashtra): After securing a surety that they will not cause disruptions wherever they go and dwell, the Nashik police expelled 35 MNS activists from the city for 15 days. The activists attempted to recite the Hanuman Chalisa in various locations under the jurisdiction of the Bhadrakali, Indira Nagar, and Sarkarwada police stations.

Simultaneously the police noticed that 86 mosques were using the loudspeakers without permission. On Thursday, the police received 60 applications seeking permission to play the Azan (a call for prayer) on the loudspeaker. However, official sources said most of the applications were rejected since they did not fulfill the requirements.

Chandrapur (Vidarbha): The police prevented the MNS activists from playing the Hanuman Chalisa using a microphone near the mosque in the “Pani Taki” area. Subsequently, they recited Hanuman Chalisa in the nearby Hanuman temple without a microphone with police permission. The activists included Sachin Bhoyar, Pratima Thakur, Bharat Gupta, and others. Similarly, the police served notices to 60 to 70 MNS activists when they tried to play the Hanuman Chalisa at the Paoli area within 100 meters of the mosque. Those who were served notices included MNS District Chief Rahul Balamwar and others.

Kolhapur (Western Maharashtra): The notices were served on 05 MNS activists Sudhir Supal, Anil Neungare, Ananda Ghante, Poonam Bhadwankar, and Chandrakant Sambrekar when they tried to recite the Hanuman Chalisa near the Ajra Mosque. They later offered an arti in the nearby Hanuman temple.

Solapur (Western Maharashtra): The police prevented the MNS activists from reciting the Hanuman Chalisa in front of the mosque and seized the gadgets, including a microphone. The activists, including Vinayak Mahindrakar and others, were questioned and later allowed to go.

The police continued to track the movements of MNS activists throughout the state. In Amravati, Police Commissioner Dr. Arti Singh took to the street and supervised the security operations personally.

In another development, the Varkaris (members of religious movement) have expressed displeasure over the disruption of their discourse by a police officer at Chalisgaon in Jalgaon. The commissioner has lodged a complaint against Police Inspector KK Patil of Chalisgaon since he entered a private place at Hanumansingh Nagar, where the Sarkari were performing “kirtan” as part of the Saptshringi Mata anniversary. The police officer stopped the loudspeaker and alleged defiled the sacred seat used to deliver the kirtan.

In the meanwhile, given the loudspeaker controversy, the trustees of the Shri Saibaba Shrine at Shirdi (in Ahmednagar) and the Vithoba temple at Pandharpur (Solapur) have stopped playing the “kakad arti” on loudspeaker. Most of the mosques in Mumbai also did not play the Azan on loudspeaker.

Also Read: Governor Inaugurates Tourism-Revival Event Kerala Travel Mart


  • Raju Vernekar

    Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

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