NEW DELHI: Justice Markandey Katju, the new chairman of the Press Council of India, has urged Prime Minister Manmohan
MUMBAI: Controversy seems to be following Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray even after his death. Two girls who commented against the "Bandh" following Thackeray?s demise on social networking site Facebook were arrested and later released on bail, enough fodder for liberals to voice their strong opinions.
Former Supreme Court judge and Press Council chairman Justice Markandey Katju has protested against the arrest of these two girls and demanded the suspension of the cops who arrested them.
Katju first wrote to the chief minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan questioning the authority on why the girls were arrested. He also demanded suspension and arrest of the police officers responsible for this.
"To my mind it is absurd to say that protesting against a bandh hurts religious sentiments. Under Article 19(1) (a) of our Constitution, freedom of speech is a guaranteed fundamental right. We are living in a democracy, not a fascist dictatorship. In fact this arrest itself appears to be a criminal act, since under Sections 341 and 342 it is a crime to wrongfully arrest or wrongfully confine someone who has committed no crime," the letter stated.
He also wrote that if the facts reported are correct, the chief minister is requested to immediately order the suspension, arrest, chargesheeting and criminal prosecution of the police personnel (however high they may be) who ordered as well as implemented the arrest of that woman. "Failing this I will deem it that you as chief minister are unable to run the state in a democratic manner as envisaged by the Constitution to which you have taken oath, and then the legal consequences will follow."
On not receiving any reply from Chavan, he wrote a second letter that silence was not an option. "I once again request you to tell me, and through me the entire nation, why this arrest of a woman was made in Mumbai just for putting up an apparently innocuous material on the Facebook, and what action you have taken against the delinquent policemen and others involved in this high handedness and blatant misuse of state machinery."
The girl, a resident of Palghar Mumbai, was arrested for posting a comment that read "People like Bal Thackeray are born and die daily and one should not observe a bandh for that." A friend who liked this comment on Facebook was also arrested. However, they were released on bail on Monday.