Mumbai News, Hanuman Chalisa Row: Mumbai police have arrested Independent MLA Ravi Rana and his wife MP Navneet Rana. The Khar police have registered a case under 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) against the Rana couple.
Ravi Rana had earlier announced that he was calling off his proposed programme of reciting Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s residence Matoshree. He said, “We have decided to call off our proposed programme in view of the Prime Minister’s impending visit to the city and the hardship that the residents of the city and the police have had to face over the last few hours.”
Early on Saturday, Shiv Sena workers broke barricades and attempted to enter the residence of Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana, who had earlier announced that they would recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside Matoshree, the residence of Thackeray, to “ward off the calamities that have been hitting the state ever since Thackeray took over as chief minister”. The police, however, brought the situation under control, and requested Rana and his wife not to step out of their house. “If they step out, the law and order situation may go out of hand,” a police officer said.
Navneet and Ravi are independent legislators; Navneet represents Amravati Lok Sabha constituency, while Ravi was elected from the Badnera seat in Amravati district.
State Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil, reacting to the incident, appealed to elected representatives to conform to the law and behave in a manner which does not disturb peace in society. “All those who want to read Hanuman Chalisa can read it inside their homes,” he said. Senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut, also commenting on the incident, said party leaders didn’t need police protection as “Sainiks are capable of protecting them”.
Meanwhile, the opposition BJP targetted Thackeray for giving a free hand to Sena workers, and sought President’s Rule in the state. “CM has given a free hand to Sena to attack the BJP. This is the first time in Maharashtra that the ruling party which is part of a coalition government is taking law and order in its own hands,” BJP MLA Ashish Shelar said. Opposition leader in the state council Praveen Darekar said, “How did the police allow sainiks to reach an MP’s residence? There was no attempt to stop them. It shows the police is being misused by Sena to instil terror in the minds of people.”