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Mira Road Violence: Police Says it Filed FIRs Against BJP MLAs, But No Action Yet

Nitesh Rane and Geeta Jain had openly made inflammatory speeches, leading to communal clashes in many pockets of Mira Road in Thane district.
Nitesh Rane and Geeta Jain. Photos: Official X accounts

Mumbai: Three months after two MLAs – Nitesh Rane and Geeta Jain – openly made inflammatory speeches, leading to communal clashes in many pockets of Mira Road in Thane district, the Maharashtra government on April 23 informed the Bombay high court that they have filed FIRs against the two. The police have, however, evidently not initiated any action against Rane or Jain.

Rane is the BJP MLA from Kankavli constituency in Maharashtra’s Konkan region and Jain, a local independent MLA, supports the BJP. Both of them have from time to time made provocative speeches and statements, directly inciting the Hindu community against Muslims in the region.

The division bench of the Bombay high court comprising Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Manjusha A. Deshpande was hearing a PIL filed by five petitioners, including two victims of the violence, seeking action against the two MLAs and another BJP MLA T. Raja Singh from Telangana, who too has on multiple occasions made communal speeches in the city. The court during the last hearing had sought response from the police on whether the speeches qualified for police action.

The state representative told the court that criminal offences were made out against all three.

As the violence broke in Mira Road, The Wire had filed ground reports about the extent of destruction the Ram Mandir event of Ayodhya had triggered in different parts of the country, including in Mira Road. Several shop establishments – belonging to the Muslim community – were broken and young Muslim youth were attacked. Both the Mira Road police and the civic authorities were seen working at the BJP’s behest. While the local administration had decided to raze many roadside shops belonging to Muslims without any prior notice, the police were seen only arresting Muslim youth, including a few minors, even when over a dozen complaints against Hindu mobs were submitted to them.

The police exhibited their bias by allowing Rane to hold a press conference in the police headquarters. Here too, Rane had continued to make provocative statements.

The five petitioners are represented by senior lawyer Gayatri Singh, advocate Vijay Hiremath and Hamza Lakdawala. The petitioners have sought action against the three MLAs under Sections 153 (provocation with intent to cause riots), 153A, 153B (promoting enmity between groups), 295A (defiling place of worship), 504 and 505 (statements breaking public peace, causing mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.

According to Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar’s disclosure in the court, four separate FIRs have been registered against the MLAs for making provocative speeches in the Mira Bhayander, Mankhurd-Govandi, Ghatkopar and Malwani areas. While the police have slapped non-bailable sections against the accused, it is not clear as to why no action has been initiated against them so far.

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