On Thursday, MNS head Raj Thackeray praised the Yogi Adityanath-led administration in Uttar Pradesh for removing illegal loudspeakers from religious sites. He expressed optimism that “good sense” will prevail in Maharashtra, a veiled dig at his cousin and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The MNS supremo has given the state government until May 3 to remove loudspeakers from mosques, failing which he has threatened to play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers.
In a statement, Raj Thackeray said, “I wholeheartedly congratulate and stand grateful to the Yogi government for having removed the loudspeakers from religious places, specially the Masjids. Unfortunately in Maharashtra, we don’t have any ‘Yogis’; what we have are ‘bhogis’ (hedonists). Here’s hoping and praying good sense prevails”.
UP Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi told Republic TV earlier in the day that more than 17,000 loudspeakers in the state have been removed, while the volume of roughly 39,000 loudspeakers has been decreased.
The senior bureaucrat said, “When the honourable CM (Yogi Adityanath) held the first round of video conferencing with senior officers, he directed that we should talk to every religious leader within 24 hours considering the festive season. As a result of this, we had a one-to-one discussion with 30-40,000 religious leaders of the state regarding how festivals can be celebrated in a beautiful and grand way with a happy atmosphere. As a part of this confidence-building measure, everyone was requested that the law should be followed pertaining to loudspeakers whether they have been installed in a temple or mosque.”
— Raj Thackeray (@RajThackeray) April 28, 2022
Loudspeaker Ban Row
During his big protest in Thane on April 12, Raj Thackeray demanded that loudspeakers be removed from mosques. He said, “I want to tell the state administration, we will not go back on this matter, do whatever you want to do,” arguing that the loudspeaker row is a societal issue rather than a religious one.
Defending his remarks on April 17, the MNS chief told reporters, “We don’t want riots. No one has opposed the offering of prayers. But if you (Muslims) do it on loudspeaker, then we will also use loudspeakers. Muslims should understand that religion isn’t bigger than the law.”
A day later, it was agreed that from May 3 forward, approval for the use of loudspeakers in any religious setting would be required. Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil disclosed that the state administration will hold talks with the Centre to overcome the impasse after chairing an all-party meeting on the subject on Monday. At the same time, he stated that anyone who causes law and order issues will be dealt with harshly by the police.
Aryan Jakhar works as an Editor-in-Chief at The Shining Media. Also, he is an editor at YouthPolitician (digital media situated in Taiwan). He writes his opinions on social issues at YouthKiAwaaz and also on his blogger website.