Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Tuesday said workers of his Republican Party of India (A) will protect mosques if anyone tried to remove loudspeakers from there forcibly.
Mr Athawale said that his party would ensure that the Muslim community does not face injustice.
“We are not against playing Hanuman Chalisa outside a mosque. But our opposition is to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) demand of bringing down loudspeakers from mosques. The RPI (A) workers will protect mosques if someone tries to forcibly remove loudspeakers from mosques,” he told reporters.
“Instructions can be given to lower the volume of these loudspeakers. The BJP may have supported the demand of the MNS, but that does not mean my party is in favour of such a move. If Raj Thackeray gives an ultimatum to have these loudspeakers removed, then workers of my party will protect mosques,” he added.
There should be no disputes between Hindus and Muslims, Mr Athawale said.
“Loudspeakers have been atop mosques for a long time then why raise the issue now? Unlike Raj Thackeray’s claim that the loudspeaker is a social issue, it is, in fact, a religious issue,” he said.
Queried on the chances of the BJP and MNS joining hands, Mr Athawale said he did not think this would happen.
“If they do, we will think about our party’s next moves. We are with the BJP so far,” he added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)