Indians talk a great deal about democracy, but kick in the teeth of freedom of speech. These are not real Indians, but real hypocrites. This sounds similar to (déjà vu of) Indian lynch mob, consisting of Indian leadership, one Indian media and an Indian Labour MP after my position in Waitakere Indian Association. I had merely raised issue of corruption, mistreatment of women, caste and dowry and other ills which belittle us. I had similarly put it in my Facebook posting. Wonder if Indian Newslink will stand for freedom of speech or dubious laws which thwart freedom of speech and shame the biggest democracy on earth.
So much for freedom of speech: Mumbai girls jailed after Facebook post about Bal Thackeray which 'hurt religious sentiments'
A seemingly harmless post on Facebook questioning Mumbai shutdown after the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray has landed two girls in trouble.
The Palghar police in neighbouring Thane on Sunday arrested Shaheen Dhada and her friend Renu charging them with hurting religious sentiments, apparently under pressure from Shiv Sainiks.
The police action has evoked widespread outrage. The girls were also charged under the IT Act.
Markets in Mumbai were closed to mourn the death of Shiv Sena Chief Balasaheb Thackeray in Karad, Maharashtra
'People like Thackeray are born and they die daily, and one should not observe a 'bandh' for that' is what Shaheen Dhada wrote on her Facebook
Shaheen had reportedly written on her Facebook wall that "People like Thackeray are born and die daily, and one should not observe a 'bandh' for that".
Renu was arrested for liking the post. The two were on Monday produced before a court which sentenced them to 14-day judicial custody.
However, they were granted bail soon after they furnished personal bonds. While the police were prompt in arresting the girls, they are still dragging their feet in apprehending the men who vandalised the hospital owned by Dhada's uncle at Palghar.
A mob of suspected Shiv Sainiks had on Sunday vandalised the facility after the girl posted the comment.
Terming the police action against the girls as absurd, Press Council of India chief Markandey Katju asked Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to look into the issue.
He also demanded immediate action against the policemen involved. Chavan, on his part, said: "I have just come to know about the details, I am looking into the matter."
Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit parried questions on the issue, saying it was something to which the Maharashtra government would respond. "I have no idea. We will find out," he said.
Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy also condemned the arrests, demanding that the CM apologise for reckless disregard of the Constitution and fundamental rights by the state administration.
The police have now gone on the defensive and said they had no choice after the Sena activists complained.
"Over 500 Shiv sainiks had come to the police station. They had the printouts of the Facebook message and the addresses of the girls. Since it was a sensitive issue after the death of Bal Thackeray, we initiated the action," Ramdas Shinde, sub-divisional police officer, Palghar, said.
When asked whether the charge of hurting religious sentiments against the girls was appropriate, Shinde said: "Though the offence did not hurt the religious sentiments in the proper sense of the word, it hurt the sentiments of a particular group."
'Don't throttle dissent'
Telecom and IT minister Kapil Sibal said he was deeply saddened by the arrest of the two girls over the Facebook post questioning Mumbai's shutdown over Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray's funeral and said the IT Act should not be used to throttle dissent. "I am deeply saddened.