Shops remained shut and normal life was disrupted in the suburb of Palghar in Thane district today as the Shiv Sena called for a shutdown to protest the suspension of senior police officials and the transfer of a magistrate for their role in the arrest and prosecution of two girls who made a Facebook post about the shutdown of the city after the death of Bal Thackeray.
The call for the shutdown had come from the Shiv Sena’s local unit, which is also accused of vandalising a medical clinic belonging to the uncle of one of the girls.
While there were no reports of violence in the suburb, local shopkeepers preferred to stay shut despite a police presence.
The party has criticised the state government for taking action against the police officials and judicial officers, who they say were doing their duty.
“The police acted as per the prevailing situation. Even the girls do not have any complaint against the police,” Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde was quoted as saying in an Indian Express report.
The state government, acting on a internal report from the police had yesterday suspended two police officials for arresting the two girls despite the fact that they had been instructed by senior officers not to do so.
One of the girls had written on Facebook speaking about the shutdown on the day of Thackeray’s funeral while her friend had ‘liked’ it. The duo were arrested after police complaints were filed by a local Shiv Sena activist.
SP (Thane rural) Ravindra Sengaonkar and senior police inspector Shrikant Pingle were suspended pending further inquiry by the state government.
With the issue raising nationwide controversy, the case has been transferred to the Boisar police station, about 15 km from Palghar.
The Bombay High court had also transferred Palghar first-class magistrate Ramchandra Bagade, who had allowed the two girls to be released on bail on a surety of Rs 15,000 each, for not throwing out the case.
The magistrate had also allowed bail to the nine persons who were arrested for vandalising the doctor’s clinic.