Mumbai: The Inspector General Konkan Range on Friday submitted his investigation report into the arrest of two Thane girls over a Facebook post criticising a bandh in Mumbai for the funeral of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. In his report, the IG said that the arrest of the girls by the police was unjustified.
The probe report also recommended action against the police officials involved in the arrest of the girls. It said that there must be departmental action against the policemen for arresting them. According to sources, the report also questioned the local policemen for defying top officers in arresting the girls.
The 150-page report will now be sent to the state government, which will take necessary action on the basis of it. The two girls from Palghar had been arrested after one of them posted a new status on her Facebook account denouncing the Mumbai shutdown after Thackeray's death and the other 'liked' it. They were, however, later released on bail.
The media and the public slammed the police action as unconstitutional and undemocratic with Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju writing off a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in which he flayed the administration for the action taken against the young girls. He urged the government to order the release of the girls immediately failing which he said he would initiate legal proceedings against the police officers who ordered the arrests.
After much media and public outcry, the girls were let off, albeit on a bail of Rs 15,000 each. What was more shocking was that the girls were arrested on charges of hurting religious sentiments.
The Shiv Sena, however, justified the arrests and refused to apologise for the attack on one of the relatives of the girl who had posted the status on Facebook. The Palghar resident's hospital was vandalised by a mob who were suspected to be Shiv Sena members. While the police arrested nine people in connection with the attack, the party remained unapologetic. Shiv Sena leaders Prabhakar Raul and Sanjay Raut said that Bal Thackeray was their god and that no comment against him would be tolerated.
The party also blamed the state government for the police action to which Union Minister Salman Khurshid said that the government had no role to play in the episode. "The Government of India is not directly involved but I agree with Mr Kapil Sibal who pointed out that every action taken by the police need not be right," Khurshid said.
Meanwhile, fearing for their safety, the girls later apologised for the status and the girl who had posted it deactivated her account saying that she feared for her family's safety.