The Maharashtra State Committee of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (Akhil Bharatiya Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana) expresses deep concern and outrage at the high handed arrest of two young women in Palghar, Thane for expressing on ‘Face book’ their discomfort at the complete shutdown in Mumbai following the death of Bal Thackeray. The local Shiv Sainiks, true to the intolerance practiced by their party, intimidated them into giving a forced apology and complained to the police. Shockingly, the Palghar police, instead of providing them with security and taking action against those harassing them, arrested the two young women on serious charges of outraging religious feelings and posting an offensive message. These were later changed to an arbitrary charge of ‘creating enmity’ after a public uproar. This is a complete travesty of the Constitutional right to democratic freedom of expression available to every citizen of India.
The complicity of the Police emboldened the local Shiv Sainiks and their supporters to vandalise two hospitals of a relative of one of the women and intimidate their families. The police did not act against, nor arrest, those responsible for breaking law and order. These developments seriously compromise our democratic functioning and weaken the law and order in the state. The AIDWA in Thane has continuously being raising the problem of arbitrary and false cases and lack of action by the rural Thane police who side with political elements and criminal forces.
We demand that the Maharashtra Government takes strict action against those responsible for the arbitrary arrest and charges. The Shiv Sainiks responsible for the harassment and violence must be arrested immediately. The Government must ensure protection for the young women and their families, withdraw the false cases and compensate them for the high handedness of the police.