Azaan vs Hanuman Chalisa row: Maharashtra state BJP leader's offer
The offer comes as the BJP and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) push for a ban on mosques using loudspeakers to play the 'Azaan'.
In Maharashtra, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader has offered to fund loudspeakers to play the Hanuman Chalisa in public places, fanning a fractious campaign against the 'Azaan.'
A billionaire bullion trader and one of the wealthiest BJP leaders, Mohit Kamboj, tweeted, "Anyone who requires a loudspeaker for installation in a temple may contact us for free! All Hindus should speak with one voice! Jai Shri Ram! Har Har Mahadev!"
The action comes as the BJP and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) led by Raj Thackeray in the state amplify a call to ban all loudspeakers playing the 'Azaan' from mosques.
On the occasion of Gudi Padwa, a Marathi festival, the MNS chief Raj Thackeray while addressing a rally, cautioned the state government to pull down the loudspeakers from the mosques and warned they would play 'Hanuman Chalisa' on loudspeakers in front of the mosque.
The action comes just ahead of the election of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The controversy could help both the parties BJP and MNS to corner the ruling parties in the state, including Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party.
Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray was the first to advocate for a ban on loudspeakers outside mosques that broadcast prayer calls five times a day. The party has softened its hard-line Hindutva stance since joining the coalition in 2019.
In contrast, Raj Thackeray, who parted from the party in 2005 after a rift with Bal Thackeray's son, Uddhav Thackeray, the present Chief Minister of the state, has maintained the hard-line position.
Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil of the NCP has slammed the recent provocations, stating that remarks are not called for and aimed at dividing society.
The leader of the Shiv Sena, Sanjay Raut, too criticised the BJP and MNS. He stated, "Raj Thackeray suggested that mosque loudspeakers be removed. Firstly, which BJP-ruled states have prohibited Azaan and removed loudspeakers from mosques. This is Maharashtra, where the land law is followed."
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi has taken an unusual stance on the controversy, opening a juice stall and claiming that Muslims are ready to welcome people playing Hanuman Chalisa and offer them drinks.