Facebook comments: IG report indicts police, clears 2 girls

Agencies Posted: Nov 24, 2012 at 0001 hrs
Mumbai The policemen who arrested two girls for their Facebook comments against the shutdown of the city for Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray\'s funeral have been indicted by an inquiry panel which said the action was not justified.

The inquiry report submitted to the DGP office has recommended departmental action against the errant cops while exonerating the girls, a police official said on condition of anonymity.

Shaheen Dadha and Renu Srinivasan, both aged 21, from Palghar were arrested on Monday after Dadha posted a Facebook status protesting the Mumbai shutdown after Thackeray\'s death and Renu \'liked\' it. The girls were later released on bail.

The arrests had sparked widespread outrage with demands for immediate action against the police officials who carried it out.

Shaheen and Renu were arrested under IPC\'s 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.

"The report filed by Inspector General (Konkan Range) Sukhvindar Singh also mentions that sections applied in the case were not justified," the official said adding the police would seek advice from the government on dropping of the charges against the girls.

Meanwhile, NDTV aired a video clip in which Palghar Deputy Superintendent of Police Ramdas Shinde was purportedly heard trying to calm Shiv Sena men agitated over the Facebook comments and promised action even after the girls had apologised.

"We are registering a case... Their family members are here and they are ready to give a written apology. But that doesn\'t mean we will not register a case. I will also give you a copy of the apology in 15-20 minutes," Shinde said, according to the clip

"Be rest assured that action will be taken. Please remain calm. An unfortunate incident has taken place. Please don\'t give in to incitement. I am with you in your sentiments. Please also try and understand me," the video clip said.

A clinic owned by Shaheen\'s uncle was also vandalised, allegedly by a group of Shiv Sena workers. Ten people were arrested for the attack but were soon released on a bail of Rs 7,500 each as surety.

Following an outrage over the girls\' arrest, the state government instituted an inquiry headed by Singh.

The inquiry report contains details of the FIR, police diary and statements of the officers of Palghar police station in Thane, who were involved in the arrest of the two girls, the police officer said.

The statements of Thane Rural Superintendent of Police Ravindra Sengaokar, Additional Superintendent of Police Sangramsinh Nishandar, Palghar police station senior inspector Srikant Pingle\'s statements were also recorded.