The Thane district rural police on Tuesday arrested 10 shiv sainiks for vandalising the orthopaedic hospital run by the uncle of one of the women who were arrested for posting a comment on Facebook.
The police had faced criticism from all quarters over the arrest of two young women on charges of “promoting enmity between classes” by posting Facebook status message and opposing the bandh that followed after the natural death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. All 10 shiv sainiks were presented before the local court in Palghar in the neighbouring Thane district, where they were released on bail.
Following the outcry against the police action and two letters sent by Press Council of India chairperson Markandey Katju, calling the arrests illegal, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had to assure that he would act on the matter once he received the report from the Maharashtra Director-General of Police Sanjeev Dayal. “I have instructed an inquiry to be conducted by a very senior officer [Director-General of Police] immediately. I will act as soon as I receive the report,” said Mr. Chavan.
Mr. Katju on Monday had sent two letters to Mr. Chavan asking immediate action of suspension against the police officers who ordered and implemented the action against two young women. He had even questioned the chief minister as whether freedom of speech guaranteed by Article 19(1) (a), exist in Maharashtra.
Mr. Chavan on Tuesday responded to both the letters, stating the matter would be inquired and the report will be ready within two days. “The state government has taken the matter in all seriousness and strict action will be taken against the defaulting personnel, in case a default is established in the enquiry,” stated the letter sent by Mr. Chavan.
Earlier, 10 of the shiv sainiks who were allegedly the part of the angry mob which vandalised the hospital were arrested by the police on Tuesday. “They were charged with the sections of 336, 427 and 452 of Indian Penal Code. Since, they vandalised the hospital they were also charged with the Criminal Law Amendment Act and other sections of rioting,” said Ravindra Sengaonkar, Superintendent of Poice, Thane rural. However, all the accused were later released on bail, after they were produced in the local court.