MP Navneet Rana, husband also face sedition charge over Hanuman Chalisa row

Apr 24, 2022 08:02 PM IST

Hanuman Chalisa row: In their request for custody of the Rana couple, police said Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana were aware of PM Modi’s Mumbai visit on Sunday and still went ahead with protest which could have ignited tensions

MUMBAI: The Mumbai police has invoked sedition charges against Amaravati MP Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana, accusing them of creating “hateful sentiments towards the government” and told a court on Sunday that they needed to interrogate the couple to ascertain who else was part of their plan

Hanuman Chalisa row: MP Navneet Rana and husband MLA Ravi Rana were arrested for promoting enmity between different groups, in Mumbai, India, on Sunday. (HT Photo/Vijay Bate)
Hanuman Chalisa row: MP Navneet Rana and husband MLA Ravi Rana were arrested for promoting enmity between different groups, in Mumbai, India, on Sunday. (HT Photo/Vijay Bate)

The judge wasn’t convinced and declined the request to remand the Ranas, arrested on Saturday, in police custody for seven days. The court instead sent the two to judicial custody for 14 days.

The Khar police, which arrested the couple on Saturday evening, told the court that the police issued notice to the couple not to disturb the law and order situation but they still went ahead to announce their protest plan at Matoshree, the family residence of chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Police also cited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mumbai on Sunday. “The couple also knew about PM Modi’s visit to Mumbai on Sunday evening and still went ahead with the announcement which could have ignited tensions,” the police said in its request to the court to seek the couple’s custody for 7 days.

A police officer said they may approach the court for a production warrant to arrest the two lawmakers in another first information report (FIR) registered against them for allegedly obstructing policemen from performing their duty and resisting arrest at their residence in Khar, a western suburb of Mumbai, not far from Matoshree.

The Rana couple was arrested on Saturday evening after their insistence to protest outside Matoshree at Kalanagar in Bandra East on Saturday provoked hundreds of Shiv Sainiks to lay siege to the couple’s Khar house to prevent them from reaching Matoshree. Another group of Sainiks gathered outside Matoshree.

The couple did eventually scrap their protest after keeping the police on tenterhooks for more than 24 hours. They also cited PM Modi’s visit to the city on Sunday.

The two lawmakers were subsequently taken into custody under a case registered against sections 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC and sections 37(1) and 135 of the Bombay Police Act. Police claimed that they promoted enmity between the two communities over the Hanuman Chalisa row.

Later, police also added section 124A (whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law).

“Their acts created hateful sentiments in the minds of citizens against the lawfully established Maharashtra government,” stated the remand application submitted in the court by inspector Shailesh Anchalwar of Khar police station.

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