Independent lawmakers Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana, facing sedition charges after a row over reciting Hanuman Chalisa, on Wednesday welcomed the Supreme Court’s stay on the controversial law and accused Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray of invoking the British-era’ legislation to target members of the scheduled caste community. Addressing a press conference here, the Rana couple also declared that they would work towards uprooting Shiv Sena’s rule of corruption in the upcoming election to the Mumbai municipal corporation, one of the richest civic bodies in the country with an annual budget of over Rs 30,000 crore.
Mumbai Municipal Corporation has been under Shiv Sena rule since 1996. Navneet Rana, the Lok Sabha member from Amravati, said she would lead the chanting of Hanuman Chalisa at the Hanuman temple in Connaught Place in the national capital on Saturday and pray for Maharashtra’s “rescue” from the rule of the Shiv Sena-led coalition government.
Thackeray is also scheduled to address a public meeting in Mumbai on Saturday. Flanked by her husband Ravi Rana, the independent MLA from Badnera in Maharashtra, Navneet hit out at the chief minister for targeting Lilavati Hospital, where she had undergone a medical check-up soon after her release on bail.
The Rana couple was arrested on April 23 under IPC Sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc), and 124-A (sedition) after they announced that they will recite Hanuman Chalisa outside Thackeray’s residence in suburban Bandra. The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed all proceedings in sedition cases while directing the Centre and states to not register any fresh FIR invoking sedition charges until the sedition law is “under reconsideration”.
Navneet Rana also slammed Shiv Sena leaders Kishori Pednekar, the former Mumbai Mayor, and Manisha Kayande for publicly discussing her medical reports with doctors at the Lilavati hospital. The British brought sedition laws to target freedom fighters. A sedition charge was imposed on us just for reciting Hanuman Chalisa. We got justice from the Supreme Court today. I thank the court, the law minister, and the prime minister for this, Navneet Rana said.
She also accused the Shiv Sena of betraying the BJP after the 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections in its lust for power. You betrayed BJP because of your lust for power. You got votes after using Prime Minister Modi’s name and photos. You betrayed the ideology of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, Ravi Rana said.
Bal Thackeray must be lamenting at the turn of events in Maharashtra what his son has done just to get hold of power, he said.