Mumbai: The Shiv Sena has called for a bandh in Palghar town on Wednesday after two police officers, including the police chief of Thane (rural), were on Tuesday suspended for the arrest of two young women over a Facebook post criticising the shutdown for Bal Thackeray's funeral, while the judicial magistrate who remanded them in custody was shunted out.
Superintendent of police Ravindra Sengaonkar and senior police inspector Shrikant Pingle have been suspended and a departmental inquiry ordered against them, Maharashtra home minister RR Patil told reporters. He promised that the departmental inquiry would be completed in the shortest possible time.
Patil said additional SP Sangram Nishandar has been "warned in writing and reprimanded" for dereliction of duty. "Wrong sections were applied against the girls. There was no need to take hasty action (against the girls)," Patil said, adding that senior officers will probe what charges can be dropped.
Earlier, the Bombay high court transferred judicial magistrate RG Bagade who first remanded Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan in custody and later granted them bail for a surety of Rs 15,000 each. The two young women were arrested on November 19 after the former posted a Facebook status lamenting the November 18 shutdown and the latter ‘liked’ it.
Though Dhada had not named Thackeray, a local Sena activist complained against the women and police arrested the duo on November 19, sparking an outrage. A hospital owned by Dhada's uncle was also vandalised despite her apology for having hurt the sentiments of Thackeray's followers.
The arrest had set off a debate with some legal experts maintaining that instead of remanding and then enlarging the girls on bail, Bagade should have discharged them from the case as they had been booked wrongly.
Bagade's transfer order issued on Monday by the registrar of the Bombay high court said, "JMFC at Palghar RG Bagade is hereby transferred in the same position to Jalgaon with immediate effect." Patil said SP Sengaonkar was placed under suspension for disobeying his superiors, who had advised against arresting the girls. Inspector Pingle invited action for charging them under wrong sections and preparing faulty records, he said.