Sena leader backs Azan competition; BJP lashes out

Shiv Sena leader backs Azan competition in Mumbai; BJP lashes out

The Shiv Sena leader in question is veteran Pandurang Sakpal

Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

In what is snowballing into a major political issue, a Shiv Sena leader has backed an Azan recitation competition for Muslim kids in Mumbai.  As the news went viral on social media, the BJP has lashed out at the Shiv Sena and Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

The Shiv Sena leader in question is veteran Pandurang Sakpal, Shiv Sena’s vibagh-pramukh for South Mumbai.

“I live near Bada Kabarastan…I have to hear Azan every day and I find it pleasing. Once I have heard in the morning, I eagerly wait to hear the next Azan of the day,” Sakpal said.

A Mumbai-based NGO – My Foundation has organized the Azan competition to encourage Muslim children and Sakpal has backed the idea.

According to Sakpal, Azan lasts for nearly five minutes as it is as important as maha-aarti. “It symbolizes peace and communal colour must not be given,” he said.

However, the BJP has lashed out at the Shiv Sena and MVA govenrment.  “It is surprises as in the past, Shiv Sena had opposed namaz on roads,” said BJP leader Atul Bhatkalkar, reminding that the Shiv Sena had campaigned for votes against Congress and has equated it with seeking votes for terror. “The larger issue is religious politics,” he said.

While Shiv Sena leaders have not commented, Sakpal found support from allies Congress and NCP.

 “Similar competitions are already being organized for Bhagwad Gita in Maharashtra and other parts in which Muslim girls have won top prizes… What’s wrong with an azaan competition,” NCP chief spokesperson and state’s minority affairs minister Nawab Malik said.

“Those who have hatred in their hearts can never comprehend the beauty of conversation between humans and God,” said state Congress general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant.