Facebook protest: Arrested, slapped, girls still in trauma | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Facebook protest: Arrested, slapped, girls still in trauma

mumbai Updated: Nov 21, 2012 13:01 IST
Puja Changoiwala
Puja Changoiwala
Hindustan Times
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Forget free speech. A simple comment on Facebook - and what they got was a slap in the face.

On Sunday evening, 20-year-old Rinu Srinivasan - who got arrested with her friend Shaheen Dhada, 21, for objecting to the bandh following Bal Thackeray's death on Facebook - was hit by an unidentified woman outside Mumbai's Palghar police station.

"I saw a huge crowd outside the police station. Suddenly, a woman slapped me twice and vanished into the crowd," said Srinivasan. "I could not complain or tell anyone, because I was the one against whom the case was being registered," she added, tears rolling down her cheeks.

The two young women have had a bitter time.

Srinivasan, a Botany graduate, who had simply "liked" Dhada's comment on Facebook, said she was traumatised.

"I have never been to a police station before. I looked around and there were so many people staring at me. The place was so intimidating. And I was put through all this only because I chose to express my opinion," she said. Timeline: Sena on a rampage

Shaheen Dhadha and Renu Shrinivasan, arrested for their posts on Facebook, after their release on bail by the Palghar court in Mumbai on Monday. PTI photo

And the trauma still lingers. "I am a common person, I do not have any power. The case will affect my career. But I cannot do anything," Srinivasan said.

Dhada, however, is standing strong by her Facebook post.

"Even when I gave the written apology, I did not apologise because I thought I had done something wrong. I apologised because my words had hurt a few people and I never intended to hurt anyone," she said.

"I have no political inclinations whatsoever. That was my opinion and I simply expressed it. Who expected such a reaction? I just think it was the wrong time. Something ill-fated had to happen and it did," Dhada added.

A graduate in management studies, Dhada said following the controversy, somebody created a fake Facebook account in her name on Sunday night. Her original account, from which she had made the update, has been hacked into.

Will they return to Facebook? Not in the near future, it seems. "Even if I do visit the website, I will post updates only about mundane things," said Srinivasan.

"I am not scared," Dhada said. "I believe Shaheen and I should get justice," added Srinivasan.