Loudspeaker Row: Mumbai On Alert, Raj Thackeray Faces Charges Over Intent To Cause Riot

Raj Thackeray faces police charges after reiterating his threat to play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers as his 'deadline' for removal of loudspeakers from mosques comes to an end

Loudspeaker Row: Mumbai On Alert, Raj Thackeray Faces Charges Over Intent To Cause Riot

The chief of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Raj Thackeray had already set the stage for a battle with the Maharashtra government on Wednesday, dwelling on his threat to play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers as his "deadline" for removal of loudspeakers from mosques came to an end.

Raj Thackeray reiterated his plans to play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers near mosques where loudspeakers have not been removed. However, the MNS workers left after the 'azaan' was not heard outside the religious premises.

He tweeted, “I appeal to all Hindus that tomorrow, the 4th of May, if you hear the loudspeakers blaring the azan; in those very places, play the Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers! That's when they will realise, the hindrance of these loudspeakers!”

Aurangabad police registered a first information report (FIR) against Raj Thackeray and the organisers of a rally, where he threatened to launch an agitation from May 4 if the loudspeakers were not removed from mosques.

In the FIR, Raj Thackeray and party leaders were booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 116 (abetment of an offence punishable with imprisonment, if the offence is not committed), 117 (abetting commission of the offence by the public or by more than 10 persons) and section 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Maharashtra Police Act, Hindustan Times reported.

The report further added that the home department officials said preventive action under section 144 (2) of the CrPC was initiated against 15,000 workers of various political parties, while 13,000 were served with notices under section 149 of CrPC -- to prevent cognizable offences police officers may interpose for the purpose of preventing the commission of any cognizable offence.

Raj Thackeray's cousin brother, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, has made extensive preparations to maintain law and order. 

A number of Home Guards have been deployed. The leaves of the police employees have been cancelled. The police have stated that strict actions will be taken against the ones who attempt to cause any hassle or try to disturb the peace. The forces have been spread across all the sensitive locations.

“The police have been taking action as per the law. The people or the parties try to take the law into their hands, they should be ready to face the consequences for it,” said the food and civil supply minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Chhagan Bhujbal.

All senior police officials, including Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey, were out to take stock of the security deployment, he said.

Police were also deployed outside mosques at some places. The morning prayers were offered peacefully at many mosques, an official said.

There was nakabandi' (blockade) at various locations and vehicles were being checked in the early hours to avoid any untoward incident, the official said.

As a precautionary measure, the city police have already issued more than 1,600 notices under various sections of the Criminal Procedure Code, including 149 (for preventing cognisable offences), to MNS workers and others. The police had also conducted meetings with maulvis and trustees of various mosques and asked them to follow the Supreme Court guidelines and rules related to noise pollution.

Heavy security was also deployed at many places in neighbouring in Thane and Palghar districts. There was an elaborate police bandobast near the Jumma Masjid in Mumbra township of Thane. 

Mumbra police station's senior inspector Ashok Kadlag said the situation was under control and there was no report of any untoward incident so far.


Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone-II, Bhiwandi, Yogesh Chavan also said the power loom town in Thane was peaceful.

(with inputs from PTI)

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