Aurangabad cops file case against Raj Thackeray over speech; Mumbai police serve him notice
A court in western Maharashtra's Sangli district has issued a non-bailable warrant against Raj Thackeray in connection with a 14-year-old case, while the Mumbai police served him a notice
Trouble mounted for MNS president Raj Thackeray after the Aurangabad police on Tuesday registered an offence against him over his "provocative" speech on loudspeakers atop mosques two days ago, while the Maharashtra DGP said appropriate legal action will be taken against him over the issue.
In related developments, a court in western Maharashtra's Sangli district has issued a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against Raj Thackeray in connection with a 14-year-old case, while the Mumbai police served him a notice under a CrPC section related to prevention of cognizable offences.
Sending out a blunt message to the MNS president over his May 3 deadline for removal of loudspeakers from mosques, the ruling Shiv Sena said the state does not run on ultimatums and that the rule of law prevails here even as some MNS leaders warned they will hit the streets in case of further action against their leader.
The police in Aurangabad, located more than 350km from Mumbai in central Maharashtra, on Tuesday registered a case against Raj Thackeray, two days after he called for silencing loudspeakers atop mosques from May 4, an official said.
The 53-year-old politician was booked under sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 116 (abetment of offence punishable with imprisonment if offence be not committed) and 117 (abetting commission of offence by the public or by more than 10 persons) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Maharashtra Police Act, the official told reporters.
In the Aurangabad rally on May 1, the MNS chief had asked people to play the Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques from May 4 if loudspeakers there were not removed.
Unfazed by registration of the case, Raj Thackeray in the evening urged people to play the Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers on Wednesday wherever they hear loudspeakers "blaring azaan (Islamic prayer call) .
In an open letter, he asked people to lodge complaint with the police by dialing 100 if they are distributed by the sound of 'azaan'.
"One must complain daily," the MNS leader said. "I appeal to all Hindus that tomorrow, the 4th of May, if you hear the loudspeaker blaring with azaan; in those places, play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers. That's when they will realise the hindrance of these loudspeakers," Raj Thackeray said in the letter.
Late in the evening, the Mumbai police served a notice to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief under CrPC section 149 related to preventing cognizable offences, an official said.
The Shivaji Park police station official said the notice has been served as a precautionary measure.
The police have issued precautionary notices under various sections of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) to more than 300 people in the Central Mumbai region, including prominent MNS leaders, he said.
Notices under section 149 of the CrPC are served to prevent cognisable offences. Cognizable offences are those in which the police can arrest someone without any warrant. Earlier in the day, Maharashtra DGP Rajnish Seth said the Aurangabad police commissioner will take appropriate legal action against Raj Thackeray over his speech against loudspeakers atop mosques.
The Aurangabad CP is looking into the speech. He will take whatever legal action that is needed today itself, the DGP told reporters in Mumbai.
Notices under section 149 of the CrPC have been issued to over 13,000 people, Seth said.
Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil, Seth and senior police officials reviewed the law-and-order situation in the state in the backdrop of the MNS chief's deadline on removal of loudspeakers.
The Maharashtra police are capable of handling any kind of law-and-order situation. SRPF and Home Guards have been deployed in the state, Seth said.
The leaves of all police personnel have been cancelled, the DGP said.
A court in Sangli district has issued a non-bailable warrant against the MNS chief in connection with a 14-year-old case. In 2008, Raj Thackeray was booked under sections 109 and 117 (abetment of offence) of IPC for allegedly making inflammatory speeches.
While issuing the non-bailable warrant on April 6, Judicial Magistrate, First Class, at Shirala in Sangli district asked the Mumbai police commission to arrest the MNS chief and present him before the court.
The judge issued the warrant against Raj Thackeray and another MNS leader Shirish Parkar through the Mumbai police commissioner and the Kherwadi police station, respectively, as they failed to appear before the court during the case proceeding, said assistant public prosecutor Jyoti Patil.
She said the court has asked the police to implement the warrant before June 8 and produce both the leaders before the court.
In 2008, MNS workers had staged a protest in Shirala against the arrest of Raj Thackeray in an agitation seeking priority for local youth in jobs.
Talking to reporters in Mumbai, Shiv Sena MP and party's chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said suitable action will follow if someone give inflammatory speeches.
The government does not run on an ultimatum. There is rule of law in the state, Raut said.
MNS leaders warned they will hit the streets in case of further action against their party head. The party's Thane district president, Avinash Jadhav, criticised Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over the issue of removal of loudspeakers from mosques.
Jadhav claimed it was Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray who had first demanded the removal of loudspeakers from mosques, but his son (Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray) has booked Raj Thackeray for making a similar demand.
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