Cops arrest girls for anti-Bal Thackeray comments on Facebook

Published: 19 November, 2012 18:38 IST | Agencies |

Cops in Maharashtra Thane district arrested a 21-year-old girl and her friend for their anti-Bal Thackeray comments on social networking website Facebook. They have been since released on bail.

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 in neighbouring Thane on Sunday sparked an outrage with Press Council of India chief Markandey Katju on Monday demanding "immediate" action against police personnel involved.

The girl hails from Palghar in Thane district of Maharashtra, which is about two and half hours outside Mumbai. The duo were booked under Section 295 (a) of the IPC (for hurting religious sentiments) and Section 64 (a) of the Information Technology Act, 2000. 

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

The two girls-- Shaheen Dhada and Renu -- were sent to 14-day judicial custody by a court before which they were produced today 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. 

Ghansoli rtailway station

Ghansoli railway station in Navi Mumbai wore a deserted look on Sunday. Pic/Sameer Markande

Though the girl withdrew her comment and apologised, a mob of some Shiv Sena workers allegedly attacked and ransacked her uncle’s orthopaedic clinic at Palghar.

Dhada's friend Renu was arrested for 'liking' the post. The duo was arrested following a police complaint lodged by a local Sena leader. 

"Police arrested both of them under section 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes). Today, they were granted bail," their advocate Sudhir Gupta said.

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

However, no arrests were made in connection with the attack.

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.

With the Aseem Trivedi episode apparently on the back of their mind, Maharashtra Police's IG(Law and Order) Deven Bharti said 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.

Bowing to public pressure and criticism from the court, the Maharashtra government last month decided to drop sedition charge against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for allegedly insulting national symbols. 

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