Mumbai: The two braveheart girls, who have become the epicentre of raging controversy over anti-Thackeray post on Facebook have reportedly apologised to the complainant, Palghar city Shiv Sena president Bhushan Sankhe.
According to reports, the 21-year-old Shaheen Dhada, who questioned the Mumbai bandh after Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's death, and her friend Rainu Srinivasan who liked her post, fear for their lives and have now deactivated their Facebook accounts.
The two girls were booked under section 295(a) of the IPC for hurting religious sentiments and section 66(a) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and arrested for posting anti-Thackeray comments under the section 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) .
Both were produced in court and granted bail on surety of Rs15,000.
Here's is the sequence of events that led to the controversy:
Shaheen Dhada's Facebook comment (posted on Sunday 3 pm, shared by Rini Shrinivasan)....
"With all respect, every day, thousands of people die, but still the world moves on. Just due to one politician died a natural death, everyone just goes bonkers. They should know, we are resilient by force, not by choice. When was the last time did anyone showed some respect or even a two-minute silence for Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Azad, Sukhdev or any of the people because of whom we are free-living Indians. Respect is earned, given and definitely not forced. Today, Mumbai shuts down due to fear, not due to respect."
After the Facebook post, a mob of nearly 40 Shiv Sainiks allegedly barged into clinic of Shaheen's uncle Abdul Dhada at Palghar and forced him to ask her niece to remove the comment. Sankhe was reportedly quoted as saying: "We had called her and asked her to apologise, but Shaheen refused and said, 'do what you want to, but I will not apologise."
Angered over Shaheen's defiant attitude, the Shiv Sainiks ransacked Dhada's clinic. Thereafter, the agitated Shiv Sainiks lodged an FIR at Thane police station and threatened cops of violence if no action is taken against the girl.
Fearing any untoward incident that might have triggered communal violence in the city, the cops reportedly agreed to arrest the girls.
The two girls were arrested under section 505(2) for making public statements on Facebook which, in the opinion of the police, could lead to public unrest and create a law and order problem.
According to former Maharashtra Police Commissioner, YP Singh, "the case of arrest of two girls is often called 'accommodation cases' where police bargains peace from rioters in exchange of arrests.
The arrest of the girls triggered widespread outrage on account of the apparent violation of civil liberties, notably the freedom of speech. The arrests drew furious reactions on social media networks and from Justice Markandey Katju, the chairman of the Press Council of India, who wrote to the state's chief minister suggesting that the policemen involved in the episode should instead be arrested. The two women were released on bail within a few hours.
The girl removed the post and apologised for her comments. She also deactivated her Facebook account. In an interview to a TV news channel, the Palghar girl Shaheen said she “will never post on Facebook again.” “I would like to apologise. He (Bal Thackeray) was a great man.” Her friend also expressed regrets for the post.
Maharashtra director general of police Sanjeev Dayal ordered a probe on Monday into the arrests.
The Mumbai police on Tuesday arrested nine people in connection with the attack on the clinic of a relative of the girl who had posted the status.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that the action taken by police on facebook matter was right. "As because of that law and order could be disturbed," he added.