While addressing a press conference on Sunday, 17 April, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray said, "We don't want riots in Maharashtra. No one has opposed the offering of prayers."
Maharashtra is witnessing rising tensions over the demand to remove loudspeakers from mosques.
"But if you (the Muslim community) do it on loudspeaker, then we'll also use loudspeakers for it. Muslims should understand that religion isn't bigger than the law. After 3 May, I'll see what to do."Raj Thackeray, as quoted by ANI
3 May is the ultimatum Thackeray has given to the state government to remove loudspeakers used to play Azaan. If his demand isn't met, MNS workers will play Hanuman Chalisa in front of mosques, he had said.
Meanwhile, Popular Front of India’s Mumbra President Mateen Shekhani is absconding after a case was registered against him, ANI reported. Two police teams are conducting a search operation to locate him.
“If you touch even a single loudspeaker, then PFI will be seen at the forefront,” Shekhani had reportedly said at an illegal gathering, adding "If you trouble us, we won't leave you."
'Hindu Owaisi's Mission to Provoke Riots'
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told the press on Sunday that there were attempts to disturb the peace in Maharashtra in the name of "Shri Ram" but people and police will continue to remain peaceful.
"Provoking riots in name of Ram and Hanuman – this was the mission of the state's 'New Owaisi'...'Hindu Owaisi'. We won't let that happen."Sanjay Raut
"I have not taken anybody's name. Whatever the BJP made AIMIM's Owaisi do to win the UP elections, it is making Maharashtra's 'New Hindu Owaisi' do the same," he added.
Raj Thackeray has written to Home Minister Amit Shah demanding the removal of loudspeakers from mosques.
"I appeal to PM Modi to raid the Madarasas at the Muslim shanties. Pakistani supporters are residing in these shanties. Mumbai Police knows what's happening there... Our MLAs using them for vote-bank, such people don't even have Aadhaar Card, but the MLAs get them made," he had earlier said.
Mumbai police have detained MNS leader Yashwant Killedar and a taxi driver for playing Hanuman Chalisa on a loudspeaker installed on a taxi outside Shiv Sena's headquarters in the city.
The Supreme Court in July 2005 imposed a ban on use of loudspeakers between 10 pm and 6 am. In October that year, it ruled that loudspeakers could be permitted to be used till midnight on festive occasions for 15 days a year.
(With inputs from ANI and India Today.)