FB post row: Shiv Sena calls for bandh over cops suspension

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MUMBAI – The Shiv Sena called for a bandh on Wednesday over the suspension of two police officers in the FaceBook post row.

The Maharashtra government earlier suspended two police officers, including a superintendent of police, following the row over the arrest of two girls from Palghar in Thane district for a Facebook post on the shutdown in Mumbai for Bal Thackeray’s funeral.

SP (Thane rural) Ravindra Sengaonkar and senior police inspector Shrikant Pingle have been suspended in the case, state’s Home Minister R. R. Patil told reporters.

He said action has been taken after obtaining legal advice. “There was no need to charge the girls under wrong sections,” Patil said.

The Bombay High Court also transferred the magistrate who had sent them to judicial custody and later granted them bail.

The transfer orders were issued on Monday by the Registrar of the High Court following which it was communicated to the Home Department, Chief Judicial Magistrate and Judicial Magistrate First Class R G Bagade.

The order said, “Judicial Magistrate First Class at Palghar R G Bagade is hereby transferred in the same position to Jalgaon with immediate effect.”

The girls – Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan – were arrested last Monday after Dadha posted a Facebook status lamenting the Mumbai shutdown for Thackeray’s funeral on November 18 and Renu ‘liked’ it.

They were arrested under IPC sections 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 505(2) IPC (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and the IT ACT.

Later, the girls were produced before the magistrate, who sent them to judicial custody and later granted them bail on Rs 15,000 each.

The incident had sparked off a debate in legal circles with some lawyers opining that instead of being granted bail, the girls should have been discharged from the case as they were booked under wrong charges.

The Maharashtra government had instituted an inquiry headed by Inspector General (Konkan Range) Sukhvindar Singh, who has submitted a report on the arrests to the DGP office.

The report has indicted policemen involved in initiating action against the girls and observed that the arrests could have been avoided following which Maharashtra government promised to act against the erring cops.

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