Two leaders of the Manipur Students’ Association Delhi have been arrested for allegedly spreading “communal hatred”, The Indian Express reported on Thursday.

Singhajit Thokchom, the secretary general of Manipur Students’ Association Delhi, and Kenedy Moirangthem, its organisation secretary, were arrested from Chanakyapuri area on Monday by a combined team of the Delhi Police and the Manipur Police. They were brought back to Imphal for questioning on Thursday.

“The student leaders have been booked under different sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 153A, for stoking communal hatred,” Imphal West district Superintendent of Police K Meghachandra said. “The student groups went to the extent of using offensive language against a particular community.”

The association, however, had expressed regret over the use of offensive language, according to EastMojo. The police said that the student leaders were arrested after they issued a statement following the announcement by Manipur Education Minister S Rajen Singh to introduce Sanskrit in some schools and colleges of the state.

In the statement issued on November 20, the association had condemned the imposition of the language, calling it an attempt to further India’s process of colonialism against Manipur. “The government exposes its stupidity by trying to impose Sanskrit which is based on hatred, crime, untouchability, sexism, domination, chauvinism, as we know what the upper caste Hindu Brahmins are,” it added.

Referring to the Manipur government as “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-oriented”, the association said that it saw the introduction of the language as an attempt to “enslave” the people of Manipur academically and linguistically.

“There are above 30 dialects spoken by the indigenous people of Manipur most of which are about to be extinct lest measures are taken up to continue their existence and imposing an alien language upon the indigenous people are completely a sign of colonisation,” the statement said.

On November 30, the association issued another statement expressing regret over the use of offensive language. “We regret the use of the word ‘bastard’ and others, and sincerely are not against any particular community or religion,” it said. “The statement was regarding the ideology but not to create any upheavals amongst particular individuals.”