Independent legislators MP Navneet Rana and her husband, MLA Ravi Rana — arrested after they attempted to recite Hanuman Chalisa outside Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s house — told NDTV today that that they had decided to recite the verses as “Maharashtra is in great danger”. The arrest came amid the row over the use of loudspeakers during Azan and the state government had alleged that the Ranas were trying to incite the people and fan the controversy at the behest of the BJP.
Told that she has been accused of politicising Hanuman Chalisa, Ms Rana told NDTV, “Hanuman Chalisa and Sankatmochan (another name for Lord Hanuman) are remembered whenever there is great danger. Today I think Maharashtra is in great danger”.
Earlier today, a Mumbai court had sent notices to the couple after the police demanded that their bail be scrapped. The police have claimed that the couple violated their bail conditions by speaking to the media about the case ahead of their visit to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Ranas have said their visit to Delhi is meant to highlight the treatment they received in jail. Navneet Rana claimed that she was not allowed to get medical treatment even when it was advised by the doctor.
Talking of their days in jail and the “ill-treatment of a woman”, Ravi Rana said, “Had Balasaheb Thackeray been there, this would never have happened. But there is Uddhav Thackeray… who is scared of a woman”.
Uddhav Thackeray, the Ranas said, have come to power using the name of Prime Ministe Narendra Modi. “After getting the votes he backstabbed the BJP. And he backstabbed Balasaheb too,” said Mr Rana. “Let them try to come to power in their own name. The Ram bhakts and Hanuman Bhakts will show them,” added his wife.
“The way we stayed in jail for 13-14 days and the way a woman was treated… the way we suffered due to the orders of a Chief Minister, we have brought it before the public as is our right under the constitution,” Ravi Rana said, denying they have breached the order of the court.
Contending that the jail administration had admitted that they were “under great pressure from the Chief Minister”, Mr Rana said his wife received “the kind of treatment that was reserved for inmates under the British rule”.
“I told Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla how I was ill-treated. This is my duty. I gave all the details and on the 23rd, it would be placed before the committee of privileges,” Navneet Rana said.
“I do not think I should have been accused of any offense. You say I cannot mention the hanuman chalisa. How can that happen in a democratic country… If I cannot fight for myself, how can I give anyone justice,” she added.
The Ranas face charges of sedition and promoting enmity between groups through their statements. The Bombay High Court has supported the state action against the Ranas, saying it was “justified in its apprehension that it could create a law-and-order problem”.
“A declaration that a person would recite religious verses at another person’s place or at a public place is a breach of the personal liberty of the other person… With great power comes great responsibility (and) persons in public life are expected to act responsibly,” the judges said.