Hanuman Chalisa row: MP, MLA arrested; ‘total law and order failure’, says Fadnavis

Opposition BJP criticised Uddhav Thackeray government over the whole issue. Party leader Kirit Somaiya alleged attack on him while going to meet the arrested couple.

MP Navneet Rana and MLA Ravi Rana arrested by Mumbai Police over Hanuman Chalisa face off

Mumbai: Hours after tussle over plan to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s residence ‘Matoshree’, both Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana were arrested by the Mumbai police on Saturday evening. The MP-MLA duo, amid hue and cry, had cancelled the plan citing the reasons that the PM Modi is visiting Mumbai tomorrow and they don’t want any law and order situation to arise.

According to the report, Navneet Rana and her husband Ravi Rana were booked by the police under IPC section 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), and section 135 of the Mumbai Police Act (violation of prohibitory orders of police).

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Opposition BJP criticised Uddhav Thackeray government over the whole issue. Party leader Kirit Somaiya alleged attack on him while going to meet the arrested couple. BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, sharpening his attack, tweeted, “It’s a total collapse of law & order situation in Mumbai & Maharashtra! Goons attacked @BJP4Maharashtra leader @KiritSomaiya ji right in front of Khar Police Station & in presence of police personnel. This is absolutely unacceptable! We demand strongest action ! #Maharashtra.”

He said the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government’s way of handling the entire episode was “very childish”. He said that attempts are being made to hide government’s failure. He said that the couple would have been allowed to recite the Hanuman Chalisa without creating any scene. It is hard to understand why people gathered at several places to oppose the move. As if they were planning some attack.

Early morning, a large number of Shiv Sainiks reached the residence of Independent MLA Ravi Rana and his wife MP Navneet Rana after the couple’s announcement on Friday that they would reach Matoshree — the official residence of the Thackerays — and recite the Hanuman Chalisa to ward off the calamities taking place in Maharashtra ever since Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has taken over.

The new buzz around reciting the Hanuman Chalisa in Maharashtra started after the chief of the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS), Raj Thackeray, had said his party would play the Hanuman Chalisa in front of mosques if the government fails to remove loudspeakers from mosques by May 3.

On Saturday, as soon as the Ranas were ready to leave for Matoshree in Bandra East, the Shiv Sainiks gathered in large numbers and kept chanting slogans against the politician couple. While there was heavy deployment of police personnel at the Khar residence of the Ranas, the agitated workers managed to break the barricades and tried to enter the couple’s home.

Meanwhile, Ravi said, “Police aren’t allowing us to step outside our house. Shiv Sena workers trying to attack our residence…We’ve always considered ‘Matoshree’ as a temple…Uddhav Thackeray only seeking political gains. Maharashtra CM ordered Shiv Sena workers to heckle us. They are breaking the barricades. I am reiterating that I’ll go outside and will chant Hanuman Chalisa at Matroshree. The CM only knows how to throw people in jail.”

However, the police stopped the protestors from entering the house. Meanwhile, a different group of Shiv Sena workers gathered at Matoshree in order to stop the couple from coming and reciting the Hanuman Chalisa.

Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, while speaking to the media over the incident, said, “Today, the Shiv Sainiks are not under anybody’s control. Since the Ranas had said they would enter Matoshree, the Shiv Sainiks entered their homes.”

Adding further and reacting to BJP’s call for a President’s Rule in Maharashtra, Raut said, “Don’t try to scare us with the President’s Rule. We (Shiv Sena) are not afraid of the President’s Rule, CBI or ED. Balasaheb (Thackeray) used to say that we are not born for power but the power is for us. Shiv Sena itself is a power. You can taste it if you want to.”

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