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Policemen suspended after Facebook arrests

Home Minister condemns police actions reporter, Mumbai

November 28, 2012

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The government yesterday suspended two senior police officials involved in the arrest of two women over a comment posted on Facebook. The arrests prompted widespread outrage across the nation and calls for an amendment to information technology laws. 

“The police officers involved in the arrest of the two girls have been suspended for acting in haste and their untimely arrests,” said R.R. Patil, home minister of Maharashtra state. 

A departmental inquiry has been ordered against superintendent of police Ravindra Shengaonkar and senior police inspector Srikant Pingale, Patil said. 

Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court has transferred judge Ramchandra Bagade, who granted the girls bail on a bond of 15,000 rupees each.

People criticized the judge’s action, saying he should have dismissed the case and set the women free instead of setting bail.

Shaheen Dadha, a 21-year-old college student, had questioned why India’s commercial capital Mumbai came to a halt for the November 18 funeral of nationalist politician Bal Thackeray. Dhadha’s friend Renu Srinivasan was also arrested for adding a “like” to Dahda's post.

Both were arrested November 19. Patil said that if the police had applied their mind properly to the law, this entire issue could have been avoided. 

All charges against the girls will also be withdrawn, he said. 

In a counter-protest, activists from Thackeray’s Shiv Sena party are observing a bandh (shut down) in Palghar to protest against the suspension of the two police officials.

Around 500 security personnel have been deployed there.

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