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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

FB row: Govt to go easy on girls, act tough on cops

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 23, 2012
First Published: 19:08 IST(23/11/2012) | Last Updated: 09:58 IST(24/11/2012)

The Maharashtra government has decided in principle to withdraw cases against Shaheen Dhada and Rini Srinivasan for posting comments on Facebook questioning the bandh last Sunday during Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's funeral.

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The state also plans to take action against senior district-level police officers for disobeying orders from senior and arresting the two women for communal incitement.

Top state government official told HT that chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has quietly told senior police officers to drop any further criminal action against the two women and plans to write a letter to the Centre for bringing in more clarity into the Information Technology Act, 2000, particularly 66 (A) pertaining to sending offensive messages.

"The police has been asked not to file any chargesheet in the Palghar case in order to close the criminal action...Just an FIR has been lodged as of now," said the official.

While the Konkan IGP Sukhwinder Singh has sent the Palghar case inquiry report to State DGP  Sanjeev Dayal, the departmental report on police action against the two women is still to reach the CM.

Chavan firmly believes that action should be taken against the district level police officers— either in the form of transfer or suspension — for booking the two women when Dayal had clearly told them not to take any action against the women.

"We delayed action against Palghar officials because wanted to know their side of the story. But action will be taken as there is enough prima facie evidence to show that the officers took extreme action against the two women,” a top state official said.

Although Maharashtra is convinced that the police action was either malafide or taken under duress, it plans to seek clarity on social media in the context of freedom of speech and offensive messaging. "We need to bring clarity so that even a constable understands the limits to social media...," said the official.


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