NEW DELHI: Facebook postings by two young women protesting Mumbai shut-down on Sunday for Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray’s funeral landed them in police custody.
Twentyone-year-old Shaheen Dhada of Palghar – which is about two and a half hours from Mumbai – posted this facebook message: “With all respect, every day, thousands of people die, but still the world moves on.’
Her friend Renu Srinivasan, 20, `liked’ it.
The first woman’s post added, “Respect is earned, not given and definitely not forced. Today Mumbai shuts down due to fear and not due to respect.’’
Some local Shiv Sena leader came to know of this and filed a complaint with police.
The two women were booked under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code, along with Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, for “promoting enmity between classes” and “sending offensive messages through a communication service,” according to the report.
They were formally arrested on Monday morning and later released on bail by a local court on a bond of Rs.15,000, the TV report said.
What is even worse, Shiv Sainiks ransacked an orthopaedic clinic run by the uncle of one the girls (Dhada) at Palghar in Thane district. Some patients were inside the hospital when it was ransacked.
But the worst part of this story is that Shiv Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut justified detention of the two girls, saying, “Balasaheb’s death has been a shock to the entire nation. Sainiks showed tremendous restrain in controlling their emotions.”
The state home minister said the government “will look into whether the arrests were warranted and whether the sections applied were correct. Similarly, the probe will also investigate the incident of vandalism in the aftermath.”
Immediately after the news of the arrests, Press Council of India chief Markandey Katju had written to state chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, warning him of `legal consequences’ if he fails to fix responsibility for police action.
“I will deem it that you as CM are unable to run the state in a democratic manner as envisaged by the Constitution to which you have taken oath and then legal consequences will follow,’’ Katju emailed the chief minister.
When he got no response for five hours, he emailed the chief minister again, telling him that the “nation wants to know what action you have taken… Please realise that silence is not an option for you.”
Later, the chief minister wrote to the Press Council of India chief, saying, “Inspector general of police, Konkan Range, has been advised to enquire in to the matter. He has been asked to submit his report within two days as regards the nature of offence, and the circumstances leading to the arrest of the above persons. The State Government has taken the matter in all seriousness and strict action will be taken against the defaulting personnel, in case a default is established in the enquiry.”
After the public outrage, police have arrested nine people for ransacking the clinic.