Hanuman Chalisa Row: Mumbai Court Grants Bail to Lawmaker and Her Husband

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Gavel on black background - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.05.2022
The controversy over the recitation of Hanuman Chalisa, a prayer dedicated to Lord Hanuman, erupted after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena party chief Raj Thackeray declared on 2 April that his functionaries would chant the prayer at temples if the Maharashtra state government failed to remove blaring loudspeakers from mosques.
Independent parliamentarian Navneet Rana and her husband Ravi Rana, a state legislator, were granted bail by the Mumbai Sessions Court on Wednesday in a case related to the chanting of Hanuman Chalisa outside the residence of Maharashtra state chief Uddhav Thackeray.
Special Judge R. N. Rokade, while pronouncing the bail order, said that the couple would have to fulfil some conditions, including a bond of INR 50,000 ($654). However, their lawyers sought the couple's release on provisional cash bail until the bond can be arranged.
The other conditions of the bail were that the two are barred from making any statement in the media related to the case, and that their bail will be cancelled if they commit similar offences again.
The couple was also directed to remain present for the investigation as and when required with 24-hour advance notice.

Why Was the Rana Couple Arrested?

Navneet Rana, an independent lawmaker from Maharashtra's Amravati constituency, and her husband Ravi Rana, an independent lawmaker from the Amravati district's Badnera constituency, were arrested on 23 April.
It happened after they announced they would chant Hanuman Chalisa, a prayer generally recited by millions of Hindus at home or in temples, outside the private residence of Maharashtra state chief Uddhav Thackeray.
On 24 April, the couple was produced before a holiday court, which sent them into judicial custody until 6 May.
The police booked the couple under Section 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 135 of the Mumbai Police Act (violation of prohibitory orders of police).
Charges of sedition under Section 124-A were also slapped on them.

What Triggered the Controversy Over Hanuman Chalisa?

The controversy over Hanuman Chalisa began after Raj Thackeray, chief of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, on 2 April demanded that the state government have loudspeakers removed from mosques by 3 May, or else his party workers would play Hanuman Chalisa from temples.
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His demand was backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the opposition party in the state, and several Hindu groups in Karnataka.
Soon after that, BJP politician Mohit Kamboj offered to donate loudspeakers to Hindus and their temples to play Hanuman Chalisa.
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