Two girls were arrested over their Facebook post questioning the shutdown in the city 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 yesterday sparked an outrage with Press Council of India chief Markandey Katju today demanding "immediate" action against police personnel involved. 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 Shrinivas – 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.
Dhada's friend Renu Shrinivas was arrested for 'liking' the post. "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.
The duo was arrested 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 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.
"Filing a case against the girls is unfortunate and I hope Maharashtra government will correct it," Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit said in Delhi. He, however, said a comment or two a couple of days later could have been alright since it was a "sensitive time" on the day of Thackeray's funeral.
Dikshit, at the