The use of terms like “Rohingyas” and “Bangladeshis” is not disparaging towards Muslims living in India, the Mumbai Police told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday, reported Live Law.

The police were justifying their reasons for refusing to file a first information report against Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nitesh Rane and independent MLA Geeta Jain, who supports BJP, under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code in specific cases, for allegedly outraging religious sentiments with speeches they made in January.

A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Shyam Chandak was hearing a batch of petitions seeking action against Rane, Jain and Telangana BJP MLA T Raja Singh, for propagating hate speech against Muslims during public addresses in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar, Mankhurd, Malwani areas, and Mira-Bhayandar’s Kashimira locality, in January.

The speeches were made against the backdrop of communal violence in Mira Road near Mumbai.

The petitioners highlighted parts of a speech that Rane had made in Ghatkopar, in which he used words like “Rohingyas” and “Bangladeshis”, among other derogatory expressions, against the Muslim community.

Rohingyas are a Muslim-majority ethnic group from Myanmar. The Rohingya are the victims of a state-sponsored ethnic-cleansing campaign in their home country. Several thousands of them have fled to India and Bangladesh to escape death and violence.

On Tuesday, public prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar told the court that section 295A of the Indian Penal Code can only be invoked against Rane for a speech he made in Mankhurd, where he made statements targeting the Muslim community in India, reported The Indian Express.

Representing the petitioners, Senior Advocate Gayatri Singh said that Rane had made comments against a particular community in Ghatkopar as well.

“The police commissioner has perused the transcript of the speech and no case is made out for section 295A,” Venegaonkar responded. “The entire statement by Rane [in Ghatkopar] pertains to Rohingyas, who are from Myanmar, and Bangladeshis.”

He added: “Section 295A is for outraging sentiments of Indians and it is an admitted position that Rohingyas and Bangladeshis are not from India and they have entered jurisdiction illegally.”

The court disposed of the matter on Tuesday, noting that most of the requests made by the petitioners had been fulfilled.

“A conscious statement is made by the highest officers of the police departments in Mumbai and Mira-Bhayandar not to invoke section 295A,” the bench said, reported the Hindustan Times. “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.”

When the matter had reached the High Court, the commissioners of police for Mumbai, Mira-Bhayandar and Vasai-Virar were directed to review videos of the speeches.

On April 23, the police told the High Court that it had registered first information reports under sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to promoting enmity and disharmony within religious groups (153A and 153B) against the three leaders, among others.

The FIR registered in Ghatkopar named Rane and one Subhash Ahir, whereas the FIR registered at Kashmira Police station in Mira-Bhayandar named Rane and Jain, according to The Indian Express.

The Mankhurd Police had also named Rane in its FIR. He along with one Bhagwan Thakur was also booked by the Malwani Police.

T Raja Singh and one Naresh Nile were booked in a separate FIR registered by the Mira Road Police under sections 153A and 295A for hate speech on February 25.