BJP chants Chalisa, namaz room row reaches HC

Express News Service

RANCHI:  A row over the Jharkhand government’s decision to allot a separate room for namaz at the As s embly reached the Jharkhand High Court on Tuesday, with a PIL seeking to quash the notification by the Speaker. Meanwhile, the Assembly was disrupted for several hours when BJP leaders continued to chant Hanuman Chalisa at the entrance of the building.

On September 2, Speaker Rabindra Nath Mahto notified that a room has allotted for offering namaz. Objecting BJP members demanded a separate be allotted to them as well to chant Hanuman Chalisa. According to petitioner Bhairav Singh, buildings constructed using public funds could not be allotted for religious purposes as such acts violated the principle of secularism and the right to equality. Singh also challenged the notification by Speaker, saying he had no power to allot any room for offering prayers to the people of any community.

Meanwhile, BJP continued its protest inside and outside the Assembly for third consecutive day, demanding the withdrawal of the notification. On Monday, BJP leaders performed bhajan, while on Tuesday they chanted Hanuman Chalisa at the entrance of the Assembly. BJP Legislative Party leader Babulal Marandi said Hanuman Chalisa is being recited to relieve Jharkhand Assembly from trouble. BJP’s chief whip Viranchi Narayan, however, said they did not want to recite Hanumna Chalisa at the Assembly as it is a temple of democracy, but they were compelled by the government’s action.

Accusing Hemant Soren government of practicing the politics of appeasement, MLA Randheer Singh said they will continue reciting Hanuman Chalisa till the notification was withdrawn. However, Speaker Mahto defended his action, saying the room has been allotted to members of all communities to offer prayers, and was not exclusively given to Muslims.