The faceoff over the Hanuman Chalisa intensified on Saturday as Maharashtra Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Ravi Rana and his wife independent Member of Parliament (MP) Navneet Rana were arrested in Mumbai. The MP-MLA couple had arrived in Mumbai and threatened to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside the residence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Matoshree.
The arrest of the couple sparked war of words between the BJP and the Shiv Sena. While the Shiv Sena warned against messing with the party or with Matoshree, the BJP condemned ‘Ravan raj’ in Maharashtra.
Here’s a look at how the events unfolded in Mumbai on Friday and Saturday:
RAVI RANA, NAVNEET’S PLANNED PROTEST
Ravi Rana and Navneet Ranan arrived in Mumbai on Friday morning. The MP-MLA couple had announced that they planned to chant the Hanuman Chalisa outside Matoshree — the residence of Uddhav Thackeray.
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) April 23, 2022
Ravi Rana told reporters that he had demanded that chief minister read Hanuman Chalisa on Hanuman Jayanti “to rid Maharashtra of crises and attain peace for the state,” but Thackeray, who heads the Shiv Sena, “refused.”
“We will go there (Matoshree) to read the Hanuman Chalisa at nine tomorrow (Saturday). We will cooperate with police. I have asked our workers to ensure that law and order is not disturbed in Mumbai. Police and people should not be troubled,” he added.
SHIV SENA WORKERS PROTEST
Security was beefed outside Matoshree following legislator couple Navneet and Ravi Rana’s plan to recite the Hanuman Chalisa there, and angry reaction by Shiv Sena workers.
On Saturday morning, Shiv Sena workers broke through the barricades and tried to enter the premises of the Khar residence of Ravi Rana and Navneet Rana. The situation was brought under control, with the police asking the couple not to step out of their house as the situation may escalate due to the presence of a large number of Shiv Sena workers outside their building in suburban Khar.
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RAVI RANA CALLS OFF PROTEST
On Saturday evening, Ravi Rana called off the protest citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mumbai visit. PM Modi is scheduled to attend the Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Awards Ceremony in Mumbai on Sunday evening where he will receive the first Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award.
Calling off the protest, Ravi Rana said, “I also have a responsibility not to create law and order.”
He added that the Prime Minister’s visit should not be canceled, and therefore the agitation was being withdrawn.
RAVI RANA, WIFE NAVNEET ARRESTED
Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana were taken to Khar Police station on Saturday evening amid a faceoff over Hanuman Chalisa. The couple was later arrested by the police.
MLA Ravi Rana and MP Navneet Rana being escorted out of their house by police on Saturday. (PTI Photo)
An FIR has been registered against Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana under section 153A of the Indian Penal Code. The police added that the Shiv Sena workers who had broken barricades earlier this morning would be booked as well.
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) April 23, 2022
The medical examination of Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana was carried out at Khar Police station itself to avoid any law and order situation.
Lawyers Vaibha Krishna and Rizwan Merchant, who will be appearing for Navneet Rana, raised questions about the duo’s arrest.
“We are protesting against the arrest. We want the question of arrest to be withdrawn. Else we will not take bail either in police station or at court,” Viabhav Krishna said.
Rizwan Merchant pointed out that as an MP and MLA, the police should have taken permission from the Speaker before arresting the legislators.
The Khar Police will present Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana in the Bandra Holiday Court on Sunday, April 24.
BJP REACTION TO THE MP-MLA COUPLE’S ARREST
Calling it “Ravan Raj in Maharashtra”, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya condemned the arrest of Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana.
I have tweeted, “Strongly Condemn Ravan Raj in Maharashtra for arresting MP & MLA for Hanuman Chalisa. CM Thackeray is scared of DAHAN of their Ghotalebaj Sarkar.”
Strongly Condemn Ravan Raj in Maharashtra for arresting MP & MLA for Hanuman Chalisa…
CM Thackeray is scared of DAHAN of their Ghotalebaj Sarkar
— Kirit Somaiya (@KiritSomaiya) April 23, 2022
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis called the arrest of the MP-MLA couple “painful” and “embarrassing” for Maharashtra.
The BJP leader said the police did not act when a leader of the ruling Shiv Sena made threatening statements or the car of a BJP leader was attacked, but arrested the Ranas when they arrived in Mumbai to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s house .
In a series of tweets, Devendra Fadnavis said, “The incidents in Maharashtra are painful. No FIR was filed when Mohit Kamboj’s vehicle was attacked or when a leader talks about burying a woman representative 20 feet under the ground. But when the Rana couple comes to Mumbai to recite Hanuman Chalisa, they are immediately arrested.”
SHIV SENA’S REACTION TO THE COUPLE’S ARREST
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut accused the duo of trying to spoil the atmosphere in Mumbai.
“For the last few days, some bogus Hindutvawadis (MP Navneet Rana and MLA Ravi Rana) tried to spoil the atmosphere in Mumbai – ‘Matoshree’ (CM residence), reciting ‘Hanuman Chalisa’. Amravati’s Bunty and Babli tried to create a ruckus,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said.
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He further alleged, “There was a conspiracy to do something different at the CM’s residence. BJP tried to attack by keeping a gun on their shoulders… Navneet and Ravi Rana are the enemies of Maharashtra and behind them is the former CM (Devendra Fadnavis).”
Issuing a warning, Sanjay Raut said, “I’d like to add that don’t mess with Shiv Sena and ‘Matoshree’, you’ll be buried 20ft deep. I’m saying this in front of the camera, don’t test Shiv Sena’s restraint.”
(With inputs from Divyesh Singh, Vidya, PTI)
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