Police on Sunday arrested two girls from Palghar for promoting an allegedly inflammatory Facebook post questioning the need for a bandh following Balasaheb Thackeray’s funeral.
While Shaheen Dhada put up the post on her profile, her friend Renu Shrinivas ‘liked’ it, the police said. Dhada’s Facebook status said there was no need for a bandh for Thackeray’s funeral, and that we should remember martyrs like Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev. She and Shrinivas were arrested and produced in court, where they were granted bail.
Press Council of India chief Justice (retd) Markandey Katju wrote to the chief minister, “To my mind it is absurd to say that protesting against a bandh hurts religious sentiments. Under Article 19(1)(a) of our Constitution freedom of speech is a guaranteed fundamental right . We are living in a democracy, not a fascist dictatorship. In fact this arrest itself appears to be a criminal act since under sections 341 and 342 it is a crime to wrongfully arrest or wrongfully confine someone who has committed no crime.”
Police said a complaint had to be registered after 500 angry Shiv Sainiks barged into the police station demanding action. “The Sainiks came with a lawyer, who was armed with printouts of the Facebook message and the address of the girls. I think everyone will agree that the situation was sensitive in the light of Balasaheb Thackeray’s demise,” said Ramdas Shinde, sub divisional police officer, Palghar.