Amidst the ongoing controversy over the use of loudspeakers in mosques in Maharashtra, the Nashik police commissioner Deepak Pandey has issued a directive banning Hanuman Chalisa or any other bhajans without taking due permission from the authorities. According to news agency ANI, Pandey further stated that people will not be permitted to play bhajans for 15 minutes on either side of the Azaan, nor will they be permitted to do so within 100 metres of any mosque. He stated that this decision has been taken to maintain law and order in the city.
Maharashtra | Permission has to be taken for playing Hanuman Chalisa or Bhajan. It will not be allowed within 15 minutes before and after the Azan. It will not be allowed within 100 metres of the mosque. The aim of this order is to maintain law & order: Deepak Pandey, Nashik CP pic.twitter.com/zRrnyHdMqq— ANI (@ANI) April 18, 2022
He further added that all religious places have been directed to take permission for use of loudspeakers by May 3. After May 3, legal action would be taken against those found violating the order, said Pandey.
The Nashik police have mentioned only Hanuman Chalisa and Bhajans, and no such time and area restriction has been mentioned for Azaan.
Azaan vs Hanuman Chalisa row in Maharashtra
Recently, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray had asked the state government to remove loudspeakers from the mosques in the state.
On April 2, 2022, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, while addressing the annual Gudi Padwa gathering at Shivaji Park in Mumbai, had warned in his aggressive style that if the government is not going to do anything about the loudspeakers in the mosques, he will put loudspeakers in front of the mosques and play a recital of Hanuman Chalisa. He had also underlined the changing demographics of Mumbai and other places of Maharashtra and alleged that so many Muslims from Bangladesh have come and settled there.
Following the announcement, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) played ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ at high decibels from loudspeakers that are installed at its office in Ghatkopar in Mumbai.
In response to MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s statement on removing loudspeakers from mosques, PFI Mumbra President Matim Shekhani stated during a protest on Friday, “Chhedenge to chodenge nahi” (we will not spare you if you tease us). He had added, “some people are trying to disrupt peace. Some have problems with Azaan while some have issues with madrassas and mosques. PFI wants peace, but don’t provoke us otherwise we won’t spare you. If any mosques, madrassa or loudspeaker is touched, PFI will lead the struggle.
After the matter came to light, the Mumbai Police had registered a case against Shekhani for holding a meeting without permission and making inflammatory speeches.