History almost repeated itself yesterday, when the police detained 20-year-old college student Sunil Vishwakarma after he allegedly ‘abused’ Raj Thackeray online. Coincidentally, this incident took place in Palghar as well.
However, wiser from their past errors, the cops this time refused to make an arrest, and instead handed over the matter to the Cyber Cell, a division of the Mumbai Crime Branch.
Vishwakarma was picked up by a mob of angry MNS workers from his place last morning. The mob then hauled him to the police station. Wary of making arrests after the last episode following Bal Thackeray’s death, the cops quickly washed their hands off the matter, passing it over to the Cyber Cell.
According to the cops, Vishwakarma told them that he had not posted anything on Facebook. “He told us that he had done no such a thing, especially after the last episode in which two girls had been arrested,” said a cop.
Officials of the Cyber Cell then took over, and after conducting their investigations found that someone else has posted the comments – either the profile had been hacked, or a new profile had been created, and the comments posted on it.
The comments were posted on his profile late on Tuesday, and the news of it gradually spread across Palghar. Later the in the morning, MNS members gathered around his house.
The initial Facebook controversy
On November 19, two girls were arrested over their Facebook post questioning Mumbai shutting down for Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray’s funeral with the comment also leading to an attack on the clinic of an uncle of one of them by Sena activists.
The arrests on Sunday sparked an outrage with Press Council of India chief Markandey Katju on Monday demanding "immediate" action against police personnel involved.
The two girls — Shaheen Dhada and Rini — were sent to 14-day judicial custody by a court before which they were produced but were granted bail within hours after they furnished personal bonds, police said. Dhada was arrested after she posted comments on the social networking site opposing the shutdown in Mumbai. 86-year-old Thackeray was cremated yesterday. She allegedly said that one should not observe bandh for Thackeray's funeral. “We should remember Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev,” the post said.
Yesterday, Palghar and its surroundings observed a shutdown following a call by the Shiv Sena. The shutdown was in protest against the departmental inquiry against and suspension of superintendent of police (Thane rural) Ravindra Sengaonkar and Palghar police chief senior inspector Shrikant Pingle in the Dadha-Srinivasan Facebook case.