Once strong allies, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena are now at loggerheads in Maharashtra, with the Hanuman Chalisa row deepening the rift. Justifying arrest of MP-MLA couple Navneet and Ravi Rana, state home minister Dilip Walse Patil said that Mumbai police did what was within the law and stressed that the Supreme Court has issued guidelines that need to be followed. However, senior BJP leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis slammed the Uddhav Thackeray government as the “most intolerant in the history of Maharashtra”.
“Some political parties have set a deadline for loudspeakers. I had called a meeting for it. But BJP didn’t come. Maharashtra government has decided to do everything to maintain law and order. Loudspeakers are used as per the state norms and rules of the Supreme Court. The state government can’t and won’t decide on removal of loudspeakers,” Patil said.
At a press conference, the minister further said, “There’s a row over azaan. If we decide on Muslim prayer call, then what impact will it have on other religious functions? We have Ganpati festival, Navratri; there’s also ‘aarti’ and ‘bhajan’ in rural areas. Can’t take separate decisions for each function. Rules can’t be made separately for different religions. The decision on loudspeakers is by the a[ex court and it is applicable for whole country. So, Centre should decide and form laws applicable for all states.”