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“The girl’s uncle [Dr. Abdul Dhada] received a call from the police on Sunday evening saying that his niece had posted some objectionable comment on Facebook. The police apparently asked him to tell her to withdraw it. Accordingly, the girl deleted her comment and tendered an apology saying that she did not do it with the intention of hurting anyone’s sentiments. Around 8.30, Dr. Dhada got a call from the hospital informing him that mobs were ransacking his hospital,” Mr. Gupta said.

Sources said that though the women were formally shown as arrested on Monday morning around 10.30, they were sent to the police station by the families on Sunday night itself. The FIR was registered against them at 9 p.m. on Sunday. They were produced before the court at 3 p.m. on Monday

Meanwhile, Mr. Sanjeev Dayal said he had directed the Inspector-General of Police of the Konkan Range to investigate the matter and submit a report by Saturday.

Online protests

Social media platforms were abuzz with support for the two women and anger against the arbitrary police action. Some reposted the message that Ms. Shaheen had posted on her wall, and offered to court arrest. Others offered legal aid to Ms. Dhada and Ms. Srinivasan.

“People like Thackeray are born and die daily and one should not observe a bandh for that” — Shaheen got arrested for posting this. Let’s post this on our wall, and let them arrest us too,” Divya Rajagopal posted on Facebook.

“If anyone knows the girl arrested for posting a comment on Facebook, ask them to contact me! Would love to help them filing a case in SC,” media professional Sumit Nagpal posted on Twitter.