Nothing even remotely offensive in Facebook message: CPI(M)

The arrest of two young women here over posting a status message on Facebook has drawn flak from all quarters, including political parties, social activists and women rights organisations.

Shaheen Dhada questioned the Mumbai bandh that followed the death of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray. Renu Srinivasan said she liked the message.

Retired IAS officer and advocate Abha Singh has filed a complaint with the Maharashtra State Commission for Woman, requesting it to examine copies of the records of this case. “The Supreme Court guideline not to not arrest a woman during night has not been followed, which is contempt of court. False sections were slapped on these women without any prima facie evidence and hence the police officers should be inquired and suspended,” said Ms. Singh.

Ms. Singh has said she will approach the Bombay High Court. “It is very clear that both women are under tremendous pressure from locals. It is possible that they might not be able to stand for their rights. But why should we back down? We will approach the court and the Human Right Commission as well, if justice is not delivered.”

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has also condemned the “arbitrary” arrests at Palghar. “Under the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government, it was not the vandals who were arrested but the young women who have every right to express their opinion,” a Polit Bureau statement said on Tuesday.

“The incident shows how the Congress-NCP government panders to the Shiv Sena brand of intolerant and authoritarian politics. There is nothing remotely offensive or anything pertaining to religious sentiments in the message posted by one of the women,” the statement said.

Demanding immediate withdrawal of the false cases against the young women, the CPI(M) has also sought the arrest of those responsible for attacking a clinic run by Ms. Dhada’s uncle at Palghar.

The All India Democratic Women’s Association, condemning the police action, has asked the State government to ensure protection to the young women and their families, to withdraw the false cases and compensate them for police high-handedness.