Girl says she will never visit Facebook; 9 vandals held

Shaheen Dhada, held for posting comments on Facebook questioning the shutdown in the city for Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray's funeral, today said she will never again visit the social networking site.

Shaheen and her friend Rini were arrested for posting comments opposing the Mumbai shutdown. However, they were granted bail after they furnished personal bonds, police said. 

Nine suspected Shiv Sena workers have been arrested for allegedly vandalising a clinic which was owned by Shaheen's uncle Abdul Dhada.

Shaheen Dhada, Rini
Shaheen Dhada and her friend Rini (Pic - Nimesh Dave)

"So far, we have arrested nine persons in connection with ransacking the clinic of Abdul Dhada. We are looking for some more people," SP Thane rural Ravindra Sengaokar said.

The girls said they have apologised for the posts. Shaheen described Thackeray as a "great guy" whom they "truly respected".

Shaheen, who was arrested after she posted comments on the social networking site opposing the shutdown on Sunday when 86-year-old Thackeray was cremated, said police was polite to her and she had no complaints against any police personnel.

"I have apologised for the post," she said, adding she had no comments to offer on whether she had done anything wrong.

She allegedly said that one should not observe bandh for Thackeray's funeral. "We should remember Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev," the post said.

Her friend Rini, who was arrested for 'liking' the post, felt that she was "wrongfully" arrested.

According to their advocate Sudhir Gupta, both were arrested under section 505(2)(statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) following a police complaint lodged by a local Sena leader.

After the comment was posted, a mob of nearly 40 Shiv Sainiks allegedly barged into Dhada's uncle's clinic at Palghar on Sunday and vandalised the place.

Police sources said an FIR has been registered against more than 50 people including some Shiv Sainiks who have been named in the report following the attack.

Also, a probe has been ordered into whether the contents of the Facebook post constituted an offence and even if the offence was registered why were the arrests made, Maharashtra Police's IG (Law and Order) Deven Bharti said.

Abdul Dhada, whose clinic was ransacked, said, "For our security they have posted the police because what has gone wrong should not happen again...we don't have any complaint against anybody and treatment we received from the police station is absolutely fine."

The arrests had sparked an outrage with Press Council of India chief Markandey Katju demanding "immediate" action against police personnel involved.

In an e-mail to the Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Katju warned of "legal consequences" if he failed to take action against the police personnel concerned.

Congress has said a police case against the girls was "unfortunate" and hoped Maharashtra government would take remedial measures.

Telecom and IT Minister Kapil Sibal has said he was "deeply saddened" by the arrest of the two girls and that the IT Act should not be used to "throttle dissent".

Rini said, "When I recall what happened to me it should not have happened. I am so much shocked. It was not a crime."

Shaheen also said that her arrest was "unnecessary". Union Minister of State for IT Milind Deora said, "There is a need for an independent inquiry into the girls' arrest". 

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