Mumbai: Nine people have been arrested from Palghar for vandalising the clinic of a man who is the uncle of the girl arrested for an anti-Bal Thackeray Facebook post. It is unclear if those arrested are Shiv Sainiks. They have been booked for rioting and trespass among other charges. Enraged by the post on the social networking website, a mob of Shiv Sainiks had allegedly vandalised a hospital owned by the girl's uncle in Palghar and filed a complaint with the local police, who arrested the 21-year-old and her friend.
While the police faced flak for arresting the girls, Shiv Sena's Thane rural chief has defended the police action of arresting two girls for a Facebook post on late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. He has also said any comments against Bal Thackeray will not be tolerated. "Balasaheb Thackeray is our God. We will not tolerate any offensive comments against him. No Shiv Sainik and no Marathi Manoos will remain silent. The police knows who was behind the Facebook comment. The arrest is justified," Rural District Head, Shiv Sena, Thane, Prabhakar Raul, said.
This came even as the police in Maharashtra have come under fire for arresting two girls over a Facebook post on late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal told CNN-IBN that the case might have been mishandled by the Maharashtra police and that the government could step in to save the situation. "The Maharashtra police mishandled the law, it's illegal to arrest people like this," Sibal said.
He said sending people booked under Section 66(A) of the IT Act to judicial custody is not in accordance with law and suggested that it could be 'illegal'. Sibal said the law itself says it is a non-bailable offence and if a person is arrested under it, he should be given bail immediately. He said there was a need to educate enforcement agencies on how not to misuse the law and how better it can be enforced.
Earlier on Monday, Press Council of India chief and former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju wrote to Maharashtra Chief Minister Chavan demanding action against the policemen. In his letter, he called the arrest absurd, wrongful and a criminal act.
He said, "We are living in a democracy, not a fascist dictatorship. I request you to immediately order the suspension, arrest, chargesheeting and criminal prosecution of the police personnel (however high they may be) who ordered as well as implemented the arrest of that woman."
The Mumbai police on Monday arrested a 21-year-old girl from Thane for questioning the total shutdown in the city for Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray's funeral on her Facebook account. Another girl who 'liked' the comment was also arrested. However, both the girls were later released on bail. The girl is believed to have written that there was no need to observe a bandh for Thackeray's funeral.
The two girls were arrested under sections 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes)a and 66 a of the IT act. The state Director General of Police (DGP) has directed the Inspector General to begin a probe into the girl's arrest and submit a report soon. Sources in the Home Ministry say they are closely monitoring the case.