Shahnawaz Alam for BeyondHeadlines
Following the unlawful arrest of two girls in Mumbai, Press Council of India chairman, Justice Markandey Katju writes a letter to Maharashtra chief Minster, for immediate action against the police personnel who ordered as well as implemented the arrest of the two girls.
The girls were convicted by Mumbai police on Sunday for posting a comment on a social networking site, questioning the city ‘shutdown’ for the Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thakrey’s funeral. Both the girls were produced to court and on a surety of rupees 15,000, they were granted bail.
Saheen Dhada 21 was arrested yesterday after an FIR lodged against her by a Shiv Sainik in Thane police station. She was arrested merely because she posted a comment on facebook questioning the city shutdown.
Her facebook post states that, “one should not observe bandh for Thackeray’s funeral. We should remember Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev.” Whereas her friend Renu was arrested for liking the comment. Police conducted the arrest under the Indian Penal Code section 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes).
Condemning the arrest, Justice Katju writes a letter to the state chief minister stating, “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.”
He also requests the chief minister for immediate and appropriate action against the police men involved in the misconduct stating, “I request you to immediately order the suspension, arrest, charge sheeting and criminal prosecution of the police personnel (however high they may be) who ordered as well as implemented the arrest of that woman, failing which I will deem it that you as Chief Minister are unable to run the state in a democratic manner as envisaged by the Constitution to which you have taken oath, and then the legal consequences will follow”
Receiving the mail from the charirman, Press Council of India, Maharashtra government has come into action. Government has ordered an enquiry which will be probed by the ‘Inspector General’ of Konkan range.
Meanwhile two Shiv Sainiks have been reported to be arrested by Palghar police for vandalizing a medical shop run by Shaheen Dhada’s family. The shop was vandalized by the Shiv Sainiks in reaction to her post on facebook.
(The author is media student and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org)