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Loudspeaker Row: Mumbai Now On Alert As Raj Thackeray’s “Deadline” Ends

Mumbai: Following a warning by Raj Thackeray, president of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), to play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers wherever azaan is recited, some mosques in and around Mumbai turned down their loudspeakers during azaan this morning.

During the morning azaan, most mosques in Kalyan turned down their loudspeakers. According to a Supreme Court order, police spoke with mosque trustees, who stated that loudspeakers will be turned off during morning prayers.

An MNS worker stated they were prepared to play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers but did not do so when three mosques in the neighbourhood turned down the loudspeakers during morning prayers, according to a video posted from Panvel.

The Maharashtra government has made tremendous preparations to preserve peace and order, taking no chances. Police leave has been cancelled, and forces have been deployed in vulnerable areas.

Mr Thackeray has been charged by the Aurangabad Police Department for allegedly making a controversial speech two days ago.

The MNS head has been served with a notice under Section 149 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which is used to prevent a cognizable offence.

Mr Thackeray confirmed his plans to play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers near mosques where loudspeakers have not been removed in a message posted Friday evening.

“I appeal to all Hindus that tomorrow, the 4th of May, if you hear the loudspeaker blaring with azaan; in those places, play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers. That’s when they will realise the hindrance of these loudspeakers,” he said.

Mr Thackeray has said that his anti-loudspeaker protest is based on social rather than religious grounds, and that mosque recitations cause noise pollution.

The spat between Mr Thackeray’s party and the state administration, which is led by his cousin Uddhav Thackeray, comes before of Maharashtra’s civic elections, in which the BJP is vying for control of the Mumbai civic council.

The Shiv Sena has accused the MNS of being the BJP’s “B Team,” aiming to sway Sena votes with its strident anti-Hindutva attitude.

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