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Hanuman Chalisa programme: HC notices to NMC, civic head and Mayor

Saturday, Apr 16, 2016,16:02 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Nagpur | ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ recitation at an AIDS awareness programme here recently has invited more trouble for organisers with Bombay High Court issuing notices to BJP-ruled civic body, municipal commissioner Shravan Hardikar and leader of the ruling party Dayashankar Tiwari.

The Nagpur bench issued the notices yesterday following a contempt petition filed by city-based NGO Nagari Hakka Saurakhshan Manch soon after the event was held here on April 7 by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC).

Nagpur Mayor Pravin Datke has also been made a respondent in the case. A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Gavai and Swapna Joshi directed all of them to file their replies within a month, before adjourning the hearing in the case till the court vacations are over.

The NGO had earlier on April 5 approached the judiciary alleging that NMC was wasting taxpayers’ money in organising an AIDS awareness programme, where they planned a mass recital of ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ in association with Poddareshwar Ram Mandir Trust.

The organisers including Tiwari, the convener of the programme, planned to create a world record of Hanuman Chalisa recital by over 1.5 lakh people. The programme which was held at sprawling Kasturchand Park ground in the city, was a big flop as only a few people, mostly from right wing outfits, had turned up, the petitioner claimed.

On April 5, after disposing of the plea, the court had sternly asked respondents, NMC and temple trust, to keep at least an hour’s gap between the AIDS awareness programme and Hanuman Chalisa recitation event at the ground. They were also directed to ensure separate banners backstage at both the programmes, with individual names of organisers.

NMC was told to give wide publicity to its AIDS awareness event without naming and mixing Hanuman Chalisa recitation. Petitioner’s counsel Ashwin Ingole alleged that all respondents have blatantly violated the court directives.  He claimed that the organisers started the second programme of recitation within 40 minutes and also pasted posters and banners of the two programmes at both the events.  He submitted photographic evidence along with video recording of the time interval between both the programmes.