Even as Congressmen prepare for party president Sonia Gandhi’s visit to Palghar on Wednesday to inaugurate a new health scheme for students, it remains a mystery if the party president will interact with Shaheen Dhada the girl whose comments on Facebook regarding the bandh called in the wake of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s funeral led to her arrest.
Sonia is expected to be in Palghar, a town in Thane district on Wednesday for one-and-an-half hour to launch the new Bal Swastha Mission. A party leader remaining non-committal said that meeting Dhada and her friend was not on her agenda. According to a Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) office bearer, only school children from surrounding areas, aarogya sevikas and anganwadi sevikas would be present at the launch along with 500 selected party members.
A close relative of Shaheen Dhada’s told MiD DAY that they were aware of the programme but unaware of any meeting with the Congress chief. The Bal Swastha Mission is part of the National Rural Health Mission implemented in Maharashtra by the state public health department, under which child health screening and early intervention services for all children up to 18 years will be made available.
On November 19 last year, Shaheen Dhada and her friend Rinu Shrinivasan were arrested by Palghar police for their Facebook post on the bandh following Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s death. The arrests created much furore, which led to the suspension of Thane SP (Rural) Ravindra Sengaonkar.