A day after Navneet Rana was remanded to judicial custody over the ongoing ‘Hanuman Chalisa row’, the Amravati MP alleged caste discrimination and abuse at the Khar police station on April 23, 2022. She has made the revelations in a letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
“It’s my honest & bona fide belief that Shiv Sena under Uddhav Thackeray completely strayed from its avowed Hindutva principles for obvious reasons since it wanted to betray public mandate&form post-poll alliance with INC-NCP,” she pointed out.
Rana emphasised, “I, with the sincere hope to rekindle the flame of Hindutva in Shiv Sena had declared that I shall go to the residence of the Chief Minister and chant the “Hanuman Chalisa” outside his residence. This was not meant to incite any religious tension.”
It’s my honest & bona fide belief that Shiv Sena under Uddhav Thackeray completely strayed from its avowed Hindutva principles for obvious reasons since it wanted to betray public mandate&form post-poll alliance with INC-NCP: Amravati MP Navneet Rana writes to LS Speaker Om Birla pic.twitter.com/B3XMOnn8NI— ANI (@ANI) April 25, 2022
The Amravati MP said that she wanted to invite Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to chant ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ with her and her husband Ravi Rana. She added that her actions were not against the CM.
In fact, I had invited the Chief Minister to join me in chanting the “Hanuman Chalisa”. I reiterate that my actions were not against the Chief Minister: Amravati MP Navneet Rana writes to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla— ANI (@ANI) April 25, 2022
Having realised that her action could cause a law and order situation, Navneet Rana withdrew her plans. Despite this, she was confined to her home by the police. She recounted the casteist treatment meted to her during her time in police custody.
“I was taken to Khar Police Station on April 23 and I spent the night in the Police Station…I made several and repeated demands for drinking water throughout the night, however, no drinking water was provided to me throughout the night,” the Amaravati MP added.
I was taken to Khar Police Station on 23.04.2022 and I spent the night in the Police Station on 23.03.2022…I made several and repeated demands for drinking water throughout the night, however no drinking water was provided to me throughout the night: Amravati MP Navneet Rana— ANI (@ANI) April 25, 2022
Navneet Rana informed Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, “To my shock & disbelief, the police staff present told me that I belong to Scheduled Caste & hence they will not give me water in the same glass. Thus, I was directly abused on the basis of my caste and it is only for this reason that no drinking water was provided.”
I emphatically state that basic human rights such as drinking waster was denied to me on the ground that I belong to Scheduled Caste (Neechi Zaat): Amravati MP Navneet Rana writes to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla— ANI (@ANI) April 25, 2022
She claimed that the cops denied her water because she belonged to the SC community. “Further, when I wanted to use the bathroom at the night, police staff paid no heed to my demands. I was again abused in the most filthy language…I was told that we don’t let people from Neechi Jaat Scheduled Castes use our bathrooms,” Rana had added.
Further, when I wanted to use the bathroom at the night, police staff paid no heed to my demands. I was again abused in the most filthy language…I was told that we don’t let people from Neechi Zaat Scheduled Castes use our bathrooms: Amravati MP Navneet Rana— ANI (@ANI) April 25, 2022
She is currently serving 14-day judicial custody at the Byculla Women’s jail.
The Background of the Case
MP Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana were earlier arrested by Mumbai police for planning to recite Hanuman Chalisa before Matoshree, the family residence of CM Uddhav Thackeray. Though they had later withdrawn their plan, the duo was arrested from their home. Charges of sedition were also pressed against them.
They were produced before Bandra Court on Sunday (April 24) and sentenced to 14 days in judicial custody. Both of them were booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups), 353 (criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), and Section 135 of the Mumbai Police Act (violation of prohibitory orders).
Public prosecutor Pradip Gharat said that IPC Section 124-A (sedition) is being attracted in this case as the Rana duo allegedly challenged the government machinery and made remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Advocate Rizwan Merchant who submitted a bail application on behalf of Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana said that all the charges against the couple are baseless. Merchant alleged that public prosecutor Gharat has framed sedition charges against the Ranas on instructions from the police department.
“Prosecutor Gharat was not able to show even a single word that was uttered allegedly by the Rana couple that shows disaffection towards the state government. The only content of the remand application was that they had prepared to come here for the purpose of chanting Hanuman Chalisa.” Advocate Rizwan, who appeared on behalf of the Ranas stated.