The Maharashtra police have decided to drop charges against Shaheen Dhada and her friend Rinu Srinivasan, who were arrested for criticising the shutdown in Mumbai after Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackarey’s death on Facebook.
On Thursday, Maharashtra director general of police Sanjeev Dayal said the police would not file a chargesheet. “We will file a closure report in court. That will facilitate the closing of the case against the girls,” Dayal said.
The filing of the case against the girls had generated widespread protests across the country and following an internal inquiry, the police had concluded that the girls had been wrongfully booked and action was advised against the officers who took the step.
Lawyers, meanwhile, welcomed the move. “The charges should have been dropped much earlier. The sections applied were outrageous and violated the principles of freedom of speech,” said criminal lawyer Pradip Havnur.
The girls also should receive compensation, said advocate Mahesh Jethmalani. “They can also sue the police or the government for wrongful arrests,” said former IPS officer and lawyer YP Singh.
The families of the girls, however, are relieved. Shaheen’s father, businessman Farooq Dhada, said, “We are extremely happy. More than the action against the officers, we wanted the charges dropped.”
No one to probe cops
Even four days after senior officers of the Maharashtra police recommended departmental inquiry against three officers from the Thane (rural) district who had been responsible for the arrest of the two girls, the home department is yet to select an officer to conduct the inquiry.
The government was expected to appoint the investigating officer by Wednesday.