Bal Thackeray row scares Shaheen Dhada away from Facebook, forever

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Two girls who posted their views on Facebook regarding Bal Thackeray's death. Two girls who posted their views on Facebook regarding Bal Thackeray's death.
SummaryA huge outcry over plight of the girls over an innocuous post forced cops to take action.

One of the girls held for posting comments on 'Facebook' questioning the shutdown in the city for Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray's funeral today said she will never again visit the social networking site while police arrested 9 Shiv Sainiks for vandalising her uncle's clinic.

Shaheen Dhada and Renu were arrested for posting comments opposing the Mumbai shutdown. However, they were granted bail after they furnished personal bonds, police said.

"So far, we have arrested nine persons in connection with ransacking the clinic of Abdul Dhada. We are looking for some more people," SP Thane rural Ravindra Sengaokar said.

Shaheen said police was polite to her and she had no complaints against any police personnel."I have apologised for the post," she said adding that whatever happened was unfair.

However, Shaheen said she would never use the social media network henceforth. She had no comments to offer on whether she had done anything wrong. She described Thackeray as a "great guy" whom she "truly respected".

Shaheen had allegedly commented on Facebook that one should not observe bandh for Thackeray's funeral. "We should remember Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev," the post said.

Her friend Renu, who was arrested for 'liking' the post, felt that she was "wrongfully" arrested.

Renu said, "I regret what I did. This should not have happened. I never dreamt that I would be in court. What we did was not a crime. Now I will think twice before posting anything on Facebook."

She further said, "The arrest was not necessary. Police treated us well. I was amazed at what was happening to me."

Their advocate Sudhir Gupta said both were arrested under section 505(2) IPC (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) 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 clinic at Palghar in Thane district on Sunday and vandalised the place.

Police sources said an FIR has been registered against more than 50 people including some Shiv Sainiks who have been named in the report following the attack.

Also, 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, Maharashtra Police's IG (Law and Order) Deven Bharti said.

Abdul Dhada, whose clinic was ransacked, said, "For our security they have posted the police because what has gone wrong should not happen again...We don't have any complaint against anybody and treatment we received from the police station is absolutely fine".

He said both the girls were detained on security grounds and later arrested.

"I have lost heavily, including my practice," he said, adding that local people have supported him.

To a question what he felt regarding the incident, Dr Dhada said he had faith in police and may be they acted under pressure. "We don't know the laws."

The arrests had sparked an outrage with Press Council of India chief Markandey Katju demanding "immediate" action against police personnel involved.

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.

Congress said a police case against the girls was "unfortunate" and hoped Maharashtra government would take remedial measures.

Telecom and IT Minister Kapil Sibal has said he was "deeply saddened" by the arrest of the two girls and that the IT Act should not be used to "throttle dissent".

Union Minister of State for IT Milind Deora said, "There is a need for an independent inquiry into the girls' arrest".

Two girls arrested over FB post

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