‘Till it reaches logical conclusion’: Raj Thackeray on agitation over loudspeakers
MNS chief Raj Thackeray said use of loudspeakers to broadcast the 5am azaan was a violation of Supreme Court guidelines but added that he was against use of loudspeakers by mosques throughout the day
MUMBAI: A day after his ultimatum to remove loudspeakers from mosques ended, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Wednesday said the agitation against illegal loudspeakers will continue till they are not removed. The MNS chief said there were still 135 mosques out of a total of 1,140 in Mumbai that continued to use loudspeakers for the 5am prayers and that the state government should spell out the action proposed against them.
Raj Thackeray said broadcasting the morning azaan (call for prayers) was a violation of a Supreme Court order that prohibits its use from 10pm to 6am and asked if the government was taking action against MNS workers for demanding enforcement of SC guidelines.
To be sure, the MNS chief added that his party wasn’t only against the use of loudspeakers by mosques for the early morning prayers but throughout the day too.
On Tuesday, the Maharashtra government, which was being blamed for going soft on the MNS, finally start filing criminal cases against the MNS chief and his party workers. Raj Thackeray, who has been asking people to broadcast Hanuman Chalisa at twice the volume of the azaan by mosques, was charged with provoking people with intent to cause riot after his May 1 Aurangabad rally where he said “let this issue be decided once and for all”.
The FIR against Thackeray was the toughest step taken by the state government since the row over loudspeakers broke out on April 2 during Raj Thackeray’s annual Gudi Padwa rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai. Later, during a speech in Thane on April 12, Thackeray appealed to party workers to play the Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques if the loudspeakers were not removed till May 3. The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi has said that the attempt was a stunt to create communal tension but the MNS and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) say they were just asking for the implementation of the Supreme Court’s guidelines on the use of loudspeakers.
“This is not a one-day agitation and will continue till it reaches the logical conclusion,” he said.
“This issue is not confined to just the morning azaan but all the five prayers offered in the day. We will play the Hanuman Chalisa if they continue blaring azaan on loudspeakers. If they want to hold prayers in the mosques, then they are free to do so but what is the need for mikes or loudspeakers? Police cannot give them blanket permission for 365 days. They need to take permission on daily basis as per the Supreme Court orders. Also, the decibel levels in the residential areas while using the loudspeaker should be 45 to 55 decibels which is the noise level of household food mixers in our homes,” said Thackeray.
He said it was a surprise that mosques had been given permission to use loudspeakers though many of them were illegal structures. He added that 90-92 % of mosques were adhering to the rules but underlined that this compliance should become a permanent feature. Thackeray said even loudspeakers atop temples should be removed if they cause inconvenience to the citizens.