Mumbai: Two police officials involved in two girls’ arrest for their Facebook comments on the Mumbai shutdown after Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray’s death earlier this month were suspended and others warned, Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil said Tuesday.
On November 18, police arrested Shaheen Dadha, who posted a comment on her Facebook questioning the shutdown after Thackeray’s death November 17 and when he was given a ceremonial cremation the next day. Her friend Renu, who had ‘liked’ the Facebook comment, was also taken into custody.
“Based on the report submitted by the Inspector General of Konkan Range (Sukhvinder Singh), it has been decided that the superintendent of police (Thane Rural) be suspended and a departmental probe be ordered against him,” Patil told reporters here.
“Similarly, it has also been decided that the Palghar police chief, Senior Inspector Shrikant Pingle, also be suspended and a departmental inquiry be ordered against him too,” he added.
Patil said that Additional Superintendent of Police (Thane Rural) Sangram Nishandar has been warned.
Nishandhar is alleged to have played a major role in siding with the Shiv Sena and ensuring the arrests of the two girls.
The Bombay High Court has also acted in the case and transferred the magistrate who, after the girls’ arrest, released them on a bail against a bond of Rs.15,000 each.
Earlier Tuesday, it was revealed that the case has been moved out of the Palghar police station in Maharashtra’s Thane district, about 100 km from Mumbai, where it was lodged.
With the issue raising a nationwide controversy, the case was transferred to the district’s Boisar police station, about 15 km from Palghar.
“Yes, I have been asked to lead the inquiry on both FIRs,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Vijaykant Sagar told IANS Tuesday from Boisar.
“I have been assigned the case only three days back. It is premature to comment on the findings yet,” he added.
A first information report (FIR) was registered against Shaheen and her friend Renu for the comments that “hurt religious sentiments”.
A second FIR was registered by Shaheen’s uncle Abdul, whose hospital was vandalised by alleged Shiv Sainiks after the Facebook post.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut described the suspension of the police officials as unfair and said they were merely doing their duty.
Raut said the party strongly condemned the suspension and would oppose the move.