MUMBAI – Claiming “90 per cent success” on the first day of the anti-loudspeakers drive, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray vowed to continue the campaign on a long-term basis till the issue resolved completely, here on Wednesday.
A majority of the mosques in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra reportedly did not use the loudspeakers for the morning ‘azan’ call to the faithful, the MNS chief told mediapersons at his home.
“In Mumbai, there are 1,140 mosques… According to the reports I received since morning, only 135 sounded the ‘azan’ call on loudspeakers before 5 a.m., flouting the Supreme Court directives,” Raj claimed.
He said that the issue is not limited to just one day since ‘azan’ is sounded five times daily and wondered why the Muslim clerics or religious leaders wanted to use loudspeakers for their prayers, disturbing all others in the vicinity.
“I reiterate… This is not a religious but a social issue. If anybody tries to give it a religious tone, then we shall be forced to do likewise. We don’t want disturbances or riots, but loudspeakers must go,” Raj declared.
Targeting his cousin and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray without taking his name, Raj demanded to know what action will be taken against these 135 mosques which allegedly violated the SC orders banning use of loudspeakers only between 10 p.m. – 6 a.m.
Taking umbrage at the police going after the MNS leaders and workers, he asked why they are being targetted for following the law while no action is taken against those who are flouting the laws.
“The Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangare-Patil told me that a majority of the mosques have taken police permission. My question is that a majority of the mosques and loudspeakers in the state are illegal, so how can you give official permission to such illegalities, and why for 365 days,” Raj asked.
Shiv Sena leaders have lauded the people of Maharashtra for understanding the motives of the MNS leaders and maintaining peace and harmony today, and the Maharashtra Police for preventing untoward incidents.
Sena MoS Kishore Tiwari said that the “misguided and mischievous campaign of MNS has been exposed” as the masses have maintained peace and unity despite all provocations, thanks to the excellent police security arrangements.
Former Mumbai Mayor Kishore Pednekar questioned Raj’s “success” claims and he was clearly misleading his partymen and others.
“A majority of the mosques have already implemented the rules for using loudspeakers even before the campaign. Why does the MNS target only non-Bharatiya Janata Party ruled states… They should go and do similar drives in the BJP-ruled states also,” Pednekar demanded.
Raj thanked those mosques which have understood his views but maintained that the agitation will go on till all the loudspeakers in mosques across the state are silenced.