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BJP leaders' remarks against Rohingyas, Bangladeshis don't hurt Indian sentiments: Police to Bombay HC

Four cases were registered against Rane for allegedly promoting enmity and disharmony among religious groups with speeches he made during his rallies.
Last Updated : 09 July 2024, 10:41 IST

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Mumbai: The Maharashtra police on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that it has decided not to invoke provisions of outraging religious sentiments against BJP leaders, including Nitesh Rane, as the words "Rohingyas and Bangladeshis" they used in their speeches were not against Indians or any community here.

Four cases were registered against Rane for allegedly promoting enmity and disharmony among religious groups with speeches he made during his rallies.

The police had invoked section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code only in one case against the BJP leader at Mankhurd police station.

Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar on Tuesday informed a division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Shyam Chandak that the provisions of this section were not made out in the other cases.

Police commissioners of the concerned areas have gone through the transcript of Rane's speeches and concluded that a case under section 295A is not made out, Venegaonkar said.

"No case is made out for section 295A. The entire statement in the speech was against the Rohingyas and Bangladeshis. The provision in question is for outraging sentiments of Indians, and admittedly, Rohingyas and Bangladeshis are not from India, and they have entered our jurisdiction illegally, and that is an admitted position," he said.

Using such words does not hurt the sentiments of any Indian or any community here, Venegaonkar argued.

The bench accepted the statement and noted that the police commissioners had gone through the speeches.

"A conscious statement is made by the highest officers of the police departments in Mumbai and Mira Bhayander not to invoke section 295A. We accept the said statement," the court said.

It further noted that a chargesheet was filed in one of the cases registered with the Kashimira police in Mira Bhayandar, and chargesheets in the other three cases would be filed within eight weeks.

"The requisite sanction to prosecute the accused under sections 153A and 153B (promoting enmity and disharmony among religious groups) would also procured by the police within eight weeks," the court said.

The court disposed of a few petitions filed against the alleged inflammatory speeches made by BJP MLAs Nitesh Rane and Geeta Jain and Telangana MLA T Raja Singh at Mira Road, Ghatkopar, Mankhurd and Malwani in January this year.

The pleas claimed the speeches had been made after communal violence in the area and sought an FIR against the MLAs.

The petitioners highlighted the relevant portions of the speech made in Ghatkopar, where Rane used Rohingyas, Bangladeshis, Jihadis and many other inflammatory words against the Muslim community.

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Published 09 July 2024, 10:41 IST

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