13, Apr 2022 | CJP Team
Only 10 days after a hate-filled speech in Dadar, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief Raj Thackeray reiterated his demand for removal of loudspeakers from mosques, this time while addressing a gathering in Thane on April 12, 2022.
Speaking in Marathi, he lashed out against the use of loudspeakers by mosques all through the year. Thackeray asked, “It is Ramzan at present. We understand. We also have Ganpati and Navratri festivals. But why are you making us listen to this [prayers] 365 days a year?” Claiming that there was no use for loudspeakers, he demanded that the Maharashtra state government ensure their removal from mosques to prevent “tedh, dangal” (Translation: division, riots).
“May 3 is Eid. I appeal to the state government and the Home Ministry,that we don’t want to create any division, riots etc. We don’t want to spoil the health of Maharahtra,”said Thackeray, the chilling threat evident in his words. He continued, “But today is April 12 and from now untill May 3, I urge you to call all Maulvis and tell them to take down all loudspeakers from mosques. (If you do so) after May 3, you will not face any trouble from us.” The gathering cheered him on.
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His demand is at odds with his own argument that loudspeakers should be used on important occasions. Nonetheless, he continues saying that namaz, azan and similar prayers be read inside people’s homes because “religion should be inside homes”.
Further, he went on to warn the Muslim community that if they do not understand “words” then “Hindus” will take “action” and play Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques in Maharashtra. Later he went on to extend this call to all of India.
“We are not ruining the environment. This is a social issue not a religious one. Students, elderly and women alike complain about this. There can be no religion that bothers the other,” he argued.
While there have been arguments against the use of loudspeakers for namaz and other prayers, the contention has been equally frivolous like ‘interrupted yoga or sleep’. The party Chief too took similar cheap shots during his speech at the quality of singing that in his opinion were just noise. Claiming that people from within the Muslim community have agreed with him, he argued that the party will not back down on this, no matter what the government says. During the event, he cited previous speech on January 23, 2020, August 1, 2018 and July 28 of the same year wherein he repeatedly voiced the removal of loudspeakers. He also cited the July 2005 Supreme Court order that argued against the use of loudspeakers if it proved to be a hindrance. Thackeray claimed that the state government ignored this order for the sake of votes.
It is noteworthy that Vasant More was fired from his post at MNS’s Corporator from Karjat in Pune for clearly rejecting this call by the party Chief. More had stated outright that he could not betray the Muslim community that voted for him. Meanwhile, Maharashtra BJP official Mohit Kamboj has taken the call as a personal notice and promised to provide loudspeakers to temples interested in playing the Hanuman Chalisa.
मंदिर में लगाने के लिए जिसको लाउड स्पीकर ( भोंगे ) चाहिए वो निशुल्क हमसे माँग सकता हैं !
सभी हिंदू की एक आवाज़ होनी चाहिए !
मंदिरावर हनुमान चालिसा यासाठी भोंगे आम्ही देवू ज्यांना लावायचे आहेत त्यांना !
हिंदु एकता आवाज आलाच पाहिजे !
जय श्री राम ! हर हर महादेव !
— Mohit Kamboj Bharatiya – मोहित कंबोज भारतीय (@mohitbharatiya_) April 4, 2022
Since then, his feed is ridden with images of him sitting in the middle of many loudspeakers. As for the government, the Hindustan Times reported that authorities condemned Thackeray’s remarks and asked all political parties not to make divisive comments.
Image Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org