A week after two girls in Mumbai were arrested for a Facebook post on late Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray, the Bombay High Court has transferred Palghar first-class magistrate Ramchandra Bagade, who had given bail to the girls on a surety of Rs 15,000 each.
The actions of Bagade had been recently questioned by former chief information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi. Times Of India reports, Gandhi had questioned why the magistrate hadn’t seen the absurdity of the charges against the girls and thrown out the case.
Reports say Bagade, who had also given bail of Rs 7,500 each to 10 men accused of destroying a medical clinic belonging to the uncle of one of the girls, has been transferred to Jalgaon with immediate effect.Shaheen Dadha and Renu Srinivasan from Palghar, both aged 21, were arrested last Monday after Dadha posted a Facebook status protesting the Mumbai shutdown after Thackeray’s death and Renu ‘liked’ it. The girls were later released on bail.
They were arrested under Section 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and Section 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the IT Act.
The girls were arrested on a complaint by Bhushan Sankhe, a Shiv Sena shakha pramukh. The clinic of Dhadha’s uncle was also ransacked by a mob protesting against the Facebook comment.
After a high level inquiry, charges were finally dropped against Dhadha and her friend. The Inspector General Konkan Range had on 23 November submitted his investigation report into the arrest of the two girls. In his report, the IG said that the arrest of the girls by the police was unjustified.
Meanwhile, reports say the state government is reportedly set to suspend the head of the police station which made the arrest and the Superintendent of Police who is in charge of the area.
The Times of India reported that the Maharashtra government will suspend Superintendent of Police (Thane rural jurisdiction) Ravindra Sengaonkar and senior police inspector Shrikant Pingle for their role in the arrest of the two girls and initial inaction against the vandals who damaged equipment at a clinic owned by the uncle of one of the girls.