The arrest of two young girls for their alleged post on the social networking site Facebook has sparked off a major furore in the country. Activists unanimously claimed that the arrest was another example of police high-handedness and stated that it demonstrated distortion of any kind of legal procedure of the country.
The Palghar police had arrested two young girls for posting and liking a post critical of the Mumbai bandh after the demise of Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray. The police claimed that the girls “could have hurt the religious sentiments.”
Activist Aruna Roy, condemning the arrests, stated that they were not only an attack on the right to freedom and expression, but also an attack on the legal framework of the country. “In the recent days, the powers-to-be are testing our tolerance by trying to clamp down on our freedom of speech. The country should stand unitedly and raise its voice against such behaviour of the authorities,” she said.
Similar sentiments were expressed by India Against Corruption (IAC) member Mayank Gandhi, who stated that instead of taking action against people posting about their angst over social networking, the authorities should try to the understand the anger which is prompting them to post such things on social networking sites. “We strongly condemn the action by the police and state that it was completely uncalled for and ridiculous,” he said.
Activist Vishambhar Chowdhury, on the other hand, stated that people should remember that social networking is being increasingly used to flame sentiments and foment trouble. “Yes, the Maharashtra police acted very high-handedly in this case, but we must also exercise caution while posting,” he said.
All India Democratic Women’s Association demanded action against the police personnel who had arrested the girls.