In a bid to give a communal angle to the controversy over the arrest of the two girls for a post criticising the shutdown in Mumbai the day Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray was cremated, sainiks claim that Shaheen Dhada was being protected as she is from the minority community.
“The girl against whom action was taken is a Muslim and hence, the government and Congress are siding with her,” said an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna on Friday.
The newspaper had the late Sena chief Bal Thackeray as editor and Rajya Sabha MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut as the executive editor.
Upset with the suspension of superintendent of police (Thane rural) Ravindra Sengaonkar and Palghar senior police inspector Shrikant Pingle, Sainiks called for a day-long bandh in Palghar on Wednesday.
The Saamna editorial also warned against offensive writings against Maharashtrians and Hindus.
It claimed that the Gujarat police killed Mumbra girl Ishrat Jahan in an encounter, NCP leaders had spoken in her favour, but when American-Pakistani 26/11 accused David Coleman Headley had revealed her terror links, the leaders were left red-faced.
“If public sentiments are being hurt on Facebook and if public leaders and points of faith are ridiculed, then the Shiv Sena will not act like the chief minister and home minister like deaf-mutes,” the editorial said.
A Sena legislator admitted that while the police had gone “slightly overboard in arresting the girls, freedom of expression does not mean anarchy”.
On November 18, the Palghar police arrested Shaheen Dhada under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act for posting a comment on Facebook criticising the citywide shutdown following Thackeray’s demise.
Her friend Rinu Srinivasan, who had posted a ‘like’ comment, was also arrested. Sainiks had also vandalised Dhada Orthopaedic clinic, which was owned by Dhada’s uncle, in Palghar.
In a related development, Dhada’s uncle has renovated the clinic at a cost of around Rs3 lakh.