—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.

Comments are closed.

Comments (37)

November 20, 2012 1:15 am
Is this comment from a Pakistani?
November 19, 2012 1:46 pm
Welcome to the New, Modern, Enlightened, Inspiring and Incredible India!
November 20, 2012 1:13 am
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.
November 22, 2012 7:53 pm
@ 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.
November 27, 2012 9:12 am
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
November 19, 2012 1:59 pm
The largest democracy of world is being supported by bunch of Non compromising Human Rights Flag bearers - India's biggest secret exposed
November 20, 2012 11:03 pm
Chand: All those who like him are narrow minded? So funny !!! You are really broad minded.
November 22, 2012 6:17 pm
Why pakistani gave so much attention in indian persoal matters.
November 21, 2012 2:37 pm
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)
November 28, 2012 4:35 am
As far as I know only news channels are banned. You guys watch our dramas which we dont even watch.
November 28, 2012 10:27 am
"You guys watch our dramas" I think you should update yourself...you seem to be stuck with Indian society of the 1980s.
November 20, 2012 3:20 pm
Unlike Indians, atleast Pakistanis don't go about sweeping their countries problems under the rug.
Great Hind
November 19, 2012 2:34 pm
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
November 19, 2012 3:12 pm
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.
November 19, 2012 3:14 pm
Not all Indians. But certainly the vast majority of half-educated Marathi population.
November 19, 2012 3:23 pm
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
November 19, 2012 1:30 pm
November 19, 2012 7:59 pm
in India now a days politician became gods and words against them declare blesphemy...
November 19, 2012 12:03 pm
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...
November 19, 2012 1:54 pm
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
November 19, 2012 10:58 am
what happened to freedom of speech in one of the biggest (so called) democracies in the world LOL...
tariq shamsi
November 19, 2012 10:50 am
indians are extremists are this is reflected in their government as well as seen here...
November 28, 2012 3:40 am
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.
November 19, 2012 9:53 am
While making such comment ensure AN u are not in India...:)
AN Afgan
November 19, 2012 8:51 am
I think she has done the correct thing.
curious kafir
November 19, 2012 8:54 am
shame. no reason to arrest gal
November 20, 2012 7:32 am
Better still no, where on the earth.
November 20, 2012 8:22 am
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.
November 20, 2012 8:14 am
Just look at your own world where people are wrongly prosecuted for blasphemy.
November 20, 2012 7:31 am
For the trillion dollar question, answer is as clear as mud.
November 20, 2012 1:46 pm
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!
November 21, 2012 7:56 pm
Don't or can't?
November 21, 2012 7:52 pm
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!
November 20, 2012 9:51 am
what are your comments about Indian TV channels are banned in Pakistan.
November 20, 2012 9:36 am
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 !!
November 22, 2012 2:43 am
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.
November 22, 2012 2:41 am
We are talking about India related issue here, not Pakistan. Try to stick to the matter at hand if you are capable of that.
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