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Hanuman Chalisa row | Ravi, Navneet Rana sent to 14-day judicial custody

MP Navneet Rana leaves Santacruz Station, in Mumbai on April 24, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Independent MP Navneet Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana were remanded to 14–day judicial custody till May 6 by a holiday court in Mumbai’s Bandra on Sunday.

The court refused to hold an immediate hearing on their bail. Their plea will now be heard on April 29.

Ms. Rana, MP from Amravati and Mr. Rana, an independent legislator from Badnera (one of the eight Assembly seats in Amravati district) were arrested by the Mumbai police on Saturday for “promoting enmity between different groups and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony”.

Mr. Ravi Rana will be sent to the Arthur Road Jail while Ms. Rana will be lodged in the Byculla Jail till the hearing of their bail plea.

Section 153A, along with Sections 35, 37, 135 of the Bombay Police Act, were slapped on the couple in the FIR lodged by the Khar police, who arrested them in a high–voltage drama that played throughout Saturday following the Ranas’ provocation to play the Hanuman Chalisa in front of Mr. Thackeray’s private residence ‘Matoshree’.

While the Ranas, who eventually called off their enterprise in the face of Shiv Sena aggression, said they were taking back their plan in the face of PM Modi’s Mumbai visit on Sunday, the Mumbai police acted with alacrity to have them in custody by Saturday evening.

The ruling tripartite ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ (MVA) government of the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress have censured the duo’s actions accusing them of deliberately heightening tensions in the State.

While Home Minister Dilip Walse–Patil, in a thinly veiled jibe at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), suggested a bigger hand behind the Ranas’ motivations, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said despite repeated efforts on part of the Mumbai police to make them understand, they remained adamant on their protest.

“At a time when the MVA Cabinet is trying its best to maintain law and order in Maharashtra, no persons or parties should try to needlessly create new problems,” said Mr. Pawar in Nashik.

Given that both were elected representatives, they ought to have acted responsibly and paid heed to the police’s warnings.

“No one is stopping them from reciting the Hanuman Chalisa at their home or in the temple. But despite knowing the intense sentiments that the Shiv Sainiks have for the Matoshree residence and the late [Sena founder] Bal Thackeray, why did they have to come all the way from Amravati to Mumbai making these provocative statements,” said the Deputy Chief Minister.

After the Sena leaders warned the MP and the MLA of ‘retaliation’ if they attempted to come near ‘Matoshree’, hundreds of Shiv Sena workers had barged into the society at Khar in Mumbai where the couple were residing.

After their arrest, the Ranas, too, had filed a complaint against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Sena leader Sanjay Raut and Sena Minister Anil Parab, holding them responsible should any harm come to them.


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Printable version | Apr 24, 2022 10:56:23 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/hanuman-chalisa-row-ravi-navneet-rana-sent-to-judicial-custody/article65350790.ece