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MNS Chief Raj Thackeray drops plan to hold ‘Maha Aartis’ on Eid

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The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has cancelled plans to hold ‘Maha Aartis’ on Akshaya Tritiya – which falls on Tuesday, the same day as Eid.

Addressing his supporters, MNS chief Raj Thackeray tweeted: “Tomorrow is Eid… The Muslim community should celebrate this festival in happiness. Do not celebrate Akshiya Tritiya by holding Maha Aartis anywhere (in the state). We do not want to create obstacles in anyone’s festival.”

The MNS chief also seemed to put his call for putting up loudspeakers blaring Hanuman Chalisa outside Mosques on May 4 on hold. “The issue of loudspeakers is not religious but social and what to do about it will be revealed tomorrow through Twitter,” he tweeted.

The MNS call for the Maha Aartis to be held on the same day as Eid had put the Maharashtra government and the police machinery on alert. This is because Maha Aartis done in the past have led to violence. A report of the BN Sri Krishna Commission, formed after one of the worst Hindu-Muslim riots (in 1992-93), had faulted the government and the police for letting the BJP and the Shiv Sena organise Maha Aartis in Mumbai, identifying it as one of the reasons for the riots.

The Maharashtra government, meanwhile, has decided to file a case against the MNS chief for his ‘communal’ speech. “He tried to create a divide between communities, the police will hear his speech and decide,” said state home minister Dilip Walse Patil on Monday.

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