—File Photo

MUMBAI: Indian police said Monday they had arrested a woman for criticising on Facebook the total shutdown of Mumbai after the death of politician Bal Thackeray, as well as a friend who “liked” the comment.

The pair were due to appear in court later in the day charged under the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act, said Police Inspector Shrikant Pingle in the town of Palghar north of Mumbai.

“The two women will be produced in a local court later this afternoon. They are being charged for hurting religious sentiments,” he told AFP.

They were arrested on Sunday, when a huge funeral procession attended by hundreds of thousands of supporters was held in Mumbai for Thackeray, the divisive founder of the rightwing Shiv Sena party.

News of his death on Saturday afternoon brought the city to a virtual standstill for the weekend, with businesses shutting and taxis going off the roads, amid fears of violence by Thackeray's supporters.

While his followers mourned, others were angered at the hold Shiv Sena exerted over India's financial capital. The 21-year-old arrested for her Facebook post was among many who aired opinions on social networking sites.

“Her comment said people like Thackeray are born and die daily and one should not observe a 'bandh' (city shutdown) for that,” Police Inspector Uttam Sonawane told the Mumbai Mirror.

Despite widespread concerns, there were no reports of unrest in Mumbai itself on the day of the funeral of Thackeray, one of India's most polarising party leaders who was widely accused of stoking ethnic and religious violence.

India in recent months has shown sensitivity to criticism of its politicians, sparking criticism in turn from freedom of speech campaigners.

In September campaigners were outraged by the arrest in Mumbai on charges of sedition of a cartoonist for his anti-corruption drawings.

The charges were later dropped.


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Comments (37) (Closed)


Chand
Nov 20, 2012 01:15am
Is this comment from a Pakistani?
ammariftikhar
Nov 19, 2012 01:46pm
Welcome to the New, Modern, Enlightened, Inspiring and Incredible India!
Chand
Nov 20, 2012 01:13am
You donot need to read the whole story. Either you hav a right to free speech or you don't . Bal thackrey made hate filled speeches without getting jailed. That you support this says more about you and your closed mind.
Saurabh
Nov 22, 2012 07:53pm
@ ammariftikhar- so now we have to learn democracy classes from Pakistan(ya Allah hindustan ki madad kar). One thing is that the arrest of that girls are totally wrong, democracy runs by majority and if you are present in India you observe that majority of people condemned that event,all kind of media condemned it,charges on girls are uplifted,the issue will be raised in parliament to avoid such events in future.THIS IS CALLED A IDEAL DEMOCRACY Mr. ammariftikhar. and one last thing is that the girl status update is not mature because on the next day of death of bala saheb one should not comment like that in public which hurts millions people's sentiments.THE ONLY WRONG THING HAPPENED IS THAT THE ROLE OF POLICE HANDLING THE MATTER.which was corrected after media condemn.
dindayal
Nov 27, 2012 09:12am
at last an action has been taken against this policeman who acted on his own his actions were not supported by majority and Girls found support in all over the country
ammariftikhar
Nov 19, 2012 01:59pm
The largest democracy of world is being supported by bunch of Non compromising Human Rights Flag bearers - India's biggest secret exposed
John
Nov 20, 2012 11:03pm
Chand: All those who like him are narrow minded? So funny !!! You are really broad minded.
Sbh
Nov 22, 2012 06:17pm
Why pakistani gave so much attention in indian persoal matters.
ammariftikhar
Nov 21, 2012 02:37pm
no one single incident report and thousand go unreported!! OH! for youtube ban your dear country India has lobbied to censor the content "because it is deemed illegal in the country". The content censored has been blocked in Indonesia, having highest number of Muslims, India; having third highest number of Muslims and you now what we've missed a big thing; Pakistan which is motherland of second largest Muslim population by any country in the world. So Pakistan decided to ban the website as long as it does not make arrangements taken for other countries.
Ahmed Sultan (Mumbai)
Nov 28, 2012 04:35am
As far as I know only news channels are banned. You guys watch our dramas which we dont even watch.
Shubs
Nov 28, 2012 10:27am
"You guys watch our dramas" I think you should update yourself...you seem to be stuck with Indian society of the 1980s.
G.A.
Nov 20, 2012 03:20pm
Unlike Indians, atleast Pakistanis don't go about sweeping their countries problems under the rug.
Great Hind
Nov 19, 2012 02:34pm
i like Baba Bala saheb..bec he was d custodian of poor people.......he was never a CM or pm or minister but millions of people liked him......people must read full story..then think n then say some thing
P.R.Koduri
Nov 19, 2012 03:12pm
It is indeed an amazing coincidence that the news of the arrests in Mumbai are featured in Dawn today together with the essay by Prof. Zulfikar Ghose on the defense of the individual's right to expression as it was expounded by John Stuart Mill in On Liberty; What an irony! Thanks to dawn I could become a little more enriched intellectually by reading the beautiful and erudite essay by Dr. Ghose. I would think it could be taught in our Schools beginning in the Middle School years. I am able to reflect on the situation in South Asia and how prescient the idea of today's condition in this part of the World foreseen years ago by JSM.
P.R.Koduri
Nov 19, 2012 03:14pm
Not all Indians. But certainly the vast majority of half-educated Marathi population.
YA
Nov 19, 2012 03:23pm
Yes its complicated. Its always complicated to quash free speech no matter what name you give it, be it may toying with peoples religious sentiment or BL. It is as complicated as a banana
AK
Nov 19, 2012 01:30pm
HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH ! Freedom of Speech !
Saurabh
Nov 19, 2012 07:59pm
in India now a days politician became gods and words against them declare blesphemy...
Ashish
Nov 19, 2012 12:03pm
you guys only write only half of the story.. and many believe and comment on that.. read the full story and comment.. its not so simple as its repored here...
ammariftikhar
Nov 19, 2012 01:54pm
In any case there is trillion dollar question, How come India got access to her Facebook account? and how can one understand that India is not monitoring & censoring Internet and that too of a common citizen? would you mind clarifying this!
tariq shamsi
Nov 19, 2012 10:58am
what happened to freedom of speech in one of the biggest (so called) democracies in the world LOL...
tariq shamsi
Nov 19, 2012 10:50am
indians are extremists are this is reflected in their government as well as seen here...
Ramesh
Nov 28, 2012 03:40am
Now the latest news is that the two senior Indian policemen, who were involved in this arrest, have been suspended. Maharashtra state's home minister said the men had disobeyed orders. The judge in the case has also been transferred. So, I think the girls finally got justice. Also the girls were released on the bail within hours of their arrest.
shriyansh
Nov 19, 2012 09:53am
While making such comment ensure AN u are not in India...:)
AN Afgan
Nov 19, 2012 08:51am
I think she has done the correct thing.
curious kafir
Nov 19, 2012 08:54am
shame. no reason to arrest gal
Ara
Nov 20, 2012 07:32am
Better still no, where on the earth.
Rahul
Nov 20, 2012 08:22am
Firstly, neither I like Bal thakrey nor I support the arrest of the girls. Secondly, what has INDIA got to do with her account? It is obvious that someone from her friends list has read the post and spread it. That's how thakrey goons came to know about it and lodged an FIR with the police and they must have threatened the Police to write an FIR. Anyway, just look at your own beautiful country called PAKISTAN before you point a finger at India.
Rahul
Nov 20, 2012 08:14am
Just look at your own world where people are wrongly prosecuted for blasphemy.
Ara
Nov 20, 2012 07:31am
For the trillion dollar question, answer is as clear as mud.
ammariftikhar
Nov 20, 2012 01:46pm
here comes a reply from Indian devotee! Rahul i expected the same for Indians as you have told. Rahul, How come India got access to her Facebook account? and how can one understand that India is not monitoring & censoring Internet and that too of a common citizen? would you mind clarifying this!
Chand
Nov 21, 2012 07:56pm
Don't or can't?
Chand
Nov 21, 2012 07:52pm
John! I may be narrow minded but not not closed! Aim still open to be corrected! Show me how great Bal thackrey and his followers are and I'll apologise! Most people who are outside looking in know what all thackreys are!
Pakistan
Nov 20, 2012 09:51am
what are your comments about Indian TV channels are banned in Pakistan.
Devil
Nov 20, 2012 09:36am
yup, a single incident enough to dent the image of my country ??? and look who is questioning all this ? A citizen from a country where "youtube" is totally banned !!
ronniq
Nov 22, 2012 02:43am
I am a pakistani and I can say you are obsessed with Pakistanis. Try to open up your mind to comments from all sides as long as they are civil.
ronniq
Nov 22, 2012 02:41am
We are talking about India related issue here, not Pakistan. Try to stick to the matter at hand if you are capable of that.