Police refuse to charge BJP MLA Nitesh Rane for hurting religious sentiments | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Police refuse to charge BJP MLA Nitesh Rane for hurting religious sentiments

BySahyaja MS
Jul 10, 2024 08:50 AM IST

Public prosecutor Hiten Venegaokar argued that Rane’s comments were directed solely at Bangladeshi nationals and Rohingyas who are in India illegally

MUMBAI: The Mumbai police on Tuesday informed the Bombay high court that use of terms like “jihadis”, “Rohingyas”, and “Bangladeshis” by BJP MLA Nitesh Rane in a speech at Ghatkopar was not aimed at the Muslim community and therefore does fall under the purview of section 295A of the Indian Penal Code, which pertains to outraging religious sentiments.

HT Image
HT Image

Public prosecutor Hiten Venegaokar argued that Rane’s comments were directed solely at Bangladeshi nationals and Rohingyas who are in India illegally, describing it as an “admitted position that we have too many of them”.

The bench, comprising justices Revati Mohite Dere and Shyam C Chandak, was hearing petitions requesting action against Rane and other BJP leaders for alleged hate speeches targeting the Muslim community at multiple locations—Ghatkopar, Mankhurd, Malwani in Mumbai, and Kashimira in Mira-Bhayander—between January and March. These incidents reportedly included the speech that incited communal violence in Mira Road in January.

Following the petitions, the commissioners of police for Mumbai and Mira-Bhayander and Vasai-Virar were directed to review videos of the speech, resulting in FIRs against Rane and Jain in March. However, these FIRs did not include charges under section 295A of the IPC.

During the hearing, the petitioners pointed towards Rane’s use of inflammatory terms such as “Rohingyas”, “Bangladeshis”, and “Jihadis” in his Ghatkopar speech, urging the court to apply section 295A. Venegaokar, representing the state, countered that the speech in question did not justify invoking section 295A, which was only been applied in the FIR filed at Mankhurd police station, where explicit allegations were made against the Muslim community.

Venegaokar detailed the charges filed against Rane and others in various FIRs: sections 153A, 153B, 504, and 506 IPC in Ghatkopar; sections 153A, 504, 506, and 188 IPC in Malwani; and sections 143 and 149 IPC in Kashimira. A chargesheet has been filed for the case registered in Kashimira, and other chargesheets will be filed within the next eight weeks.

The court acknowledged that many of the petition’s requests had been fulfilled and thus disposed of the petition. The bench noted that the highest police officials in Mumbai and Mira-Bhayander had decided not to invoke section 295A, granting the petitioners leave to seek its application during the charge-framing stage.

“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 statement. Leave is granted to the petitioners to seek for invocation of section 295A at the appropriate stage (framing of charges) before an appropriate forum,” said the court.

Despite petitioners’ concerns, the court refused to keep the petition pending, stating that they are at liberty to seek invocation of the said section at the appropriate stage.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

Stay updated with all the Breaking News and Latest News from Mumbai. Click here for comprehensive coverage of top Cities including Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, and more across India along with Stay informed on the latest happenings in World News.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On