The Mumbai Police on Saturday arrested the husband-wife duo of MLA Ravi Rana and MP Navneet Rana, who had earlier declared they would recite Hanuman Chalisa outside the private residence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Here are key points that explain the ongoing Hanuman Chalisa row:
How did the Hanuman Chalisa row start?
Ravi Rana earlier said that he had asked Uddhav Thakerey to recite Hanuman Chalisa on 16 April but Thackeray had refused.
Ravi’s comment came after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray gave “ultimatum” to Maharashtra government to remove loudspeakers from mosques by May 3. If that’s not done, he said Hanuman Chalisa would be played loudly outside mosques.
Ravi had said that if Thackeray did not recite Hanuman Chalisa, he would go to Matoshree and do it.
The Ranas called off their plan
Earlier on Saturday, the Ranas had cancelled their plan to recite Hanuman Chalisa in front “Matoshree”, Thackeray’s private residence. They cited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mumbai on Sunday and said that they wouldn’t want a law and order situation to emerge because of their recitation.
Shiv Sena workers threatened the Rana couple
A large number of Shiv Sainiks camped outside the building in which Ranas were staying. They had threatened to teach them a lesson if they went ahead with their plan.
Earlier on Saturday morning, Shiv Sainiks broke through the barricades placed outside the building in which Ranas own a flat and tried to enter the premises. They were stopped by the police.
There were arguments with police at the time of arrest
Ravi Rana and Navneet Rana were initially seen arguing with the police inside the building.
The Rana couple reportedly said they would not budge until criminal cases were also registered against Shiv Sena leaders who “threatened” them. Navneet also demanded the police to produce a warrant. But later they agreed to step out and left in two police vehicles.
An empty water bottle was thrown in their directions as they were coming out.
Before climbing into police vehicles, the two of them were seen shouting slogans in the direction of Shiv Sena workers who had been camping outside of their residence.
What are they charged with?
The Rana couple was charged with the Indian Penal Code and Mumbai Police Act at the time of their arrest.
The two were booked under IPC section 153 (A) that includes promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc and acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, in addition to Mumbai Police Act’s section 135 that covers violation of prohibitory orders of police.
Police had issued a notice to Ranas
The Mumbai Police on Friday issued a notice under CrPC section 149 to Ravi Rana and Navneet Rana. The section covers prevention of a cognizable offence.
The two were asked to not disturb peace and to maintain the law and order situation, according to the notice issued to them.
The notice came after Ravi said on Thursday that he was firm on going to Thackeray’s private residence to recite Hanuman Chalisa.
What has Shiv Sena said about Ranas?
Shiv Sena leaders have called their recitation of Hanuman Chalisa “nautanki – drama” and a “stunt”.
Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut said, "People like Rana are characters in the nautanki and stunt of the BJP. People don't take this stunt seriously.”
Raut further called the Rana couple “Bunty aur Babli” in reference to a Hindi film featuring cons with these names.
Shiv Sena youth wing secretary Varun Saardesai called the couple's declaration as a "stunt" and said the party workers will not let them go back without “prasad” – without teaching them a lesson – “if they dared to turn up”.
What has BJP said about the arrest of Rana couple?
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis said Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government's handling of the entire episode was "very childish". He added that the government tries to hide its failures by calling situations it cannot handle as BJP-sponsored.
He said, “If allowed, the Rana couple would have gone there, recited Hanuman Chalisa, and returned without creating any news. I don't understand why so many people had gathered at several places as if they [Rana couple] were planning some attack. What kind of politics is this?”
Hindu organisations to campaign against 'azan' in Karnataka
As Hanuman Chalisa row continues in Maharashtra, Hindu groups have said in Karnataka that they would carry out a door-to-door campaign against "azan" in the state, according to reports.
Earlier, Karnataka had witnessed campaigns by Hindu organisations against halal meat, the type of meat traditionally eaten by Muslims which is prepared in accordance with Islamic norms. The state also witnessed tensions over the question of Muslim female students wearing hijab in classrooms.
(With PTI inputs)