Two days after a 24-year-old Muslim man was killed allegedly by members of the radical right-wing outfit, the Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), the Pune police are contemplating banning the organisation. Seventeen people, all below the age of 30, belonging to the HRS have been arrested on charges of murder, and remanded in police custody.
Mohsin Shaikh, an IT professional, was beaten to death on Monday night by members of the HRS, in what is emerging as a hate crime. The youngsters were incited by rumours that a Shivaji statue was stoned, police said.
Last week, the city witnessed communal tensions after morphed derogatory photographs of Shivaji and Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray went viral on social media. More than 200 buses were vandalised and 180 people have been arrested so far.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Pune Police Commissioner Satish Mathur said the police were in the process of collecting information about the organisation. “We will send a proposal to the central government suggesting a ban on the outfit.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan also said: “We will probe the organisations behind this, and if it was a conspiracy. We will also investigate if it was linked to the recent polls.”
Stating that Mohsin was innocent, Home Minister R.R. Patil said, “The government will take strict action against people involved in the murder and violence. We will also investigate people who posted the controversial photos on Facebook.”
The BJP MP from Pune said some repercussions to the Facebook post derogatory of Shivaji and Bal Thackeray were “natural.” “What appeared on Facebook was very painful. Some amount of repercussions was natural,” Anil Shirole told reporters outside Parliament.
‘Proxy servers used’
Rashmi Rajput reports from Mumbai: The Maharashtra police have little hope of tracking the culprits who posted the derogatory pictures on Facebook. The Ministry of External Affairs had written to Facebook seeking technical assistance in the case. They were yet to revert formally but said informally that the contents were posted using proxy servers, a senior police officer told The Hindu, on condition of anonymity.
(With additional reporting from PTI.)