India suspends policemen over Facebook arrests



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Wednesday 28 November 2012

Last update 27 November 2012 10:52 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

MUMBAI: India suspended two senior police officers and transferred a judge yesterday over the arrests of two women for Facebook posts in a case that sparked outrage and fierce debate over India’s Internet laws.
The women, both 21, were arrested a week ago over comments on the social networking site questioning the shutdown of Mumbai for the funeral of the hard-line politician Bal Thackeray.
Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, launched an inquiry into the arrests amid a public outcry over curbs on free speech.
Yesterday state Home Minister R.R. Patil announced the suspension of superintendent Ravindra Sengaonkar and senior inspector Shrikant Pingle.
“There was no need to charge the girls under wrong sections,” Patil told reporters.
A Facebook post by Shaheen Dhada on the day of the funeral for Thackeray, whose party has a reputation for intimidation and violence, said that Mumbai had shut down “due to fear, not due to respect.”
Renu Srinivasan “liked,” shared and agreed to the post, commenting that despite respect for Thackeray, “it doesn’t make sense to shut down everything!” the BBC reported after an interview with the women.
The magistrate in Palghar town north of Mumbai who sent the women to judicial custody and then bailed them has also been transferred by the Bombay High Court, the Press Trust of India reported.
Dhada and Srinivasan were each granted bail for 15,000 rupees ($ 270) straight after they were handed two weeks in custody.
Police said the pair were arrested under the Indian Penal Code for “hurting religious sentiments,” but this was later changed to the section against “statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes.”
They were also booked under section 66a of the Information Technology Act, which forbids “sending false and offensive messages through communication services” and can lead to three years in jail.
“In the age of information and technology, we appear to be kissing goodbye to the Constitution-guaranteed fundamental right of freedom to speech and expression ever since Section 66a was introduced,” said a piece in The Hindu.
India’s Communication Minister Kapil Sibal was expected to convene a meeting on Thursday to discuss the arrests and relevant laws.
“The law has been misused with regard to lodging of a case on expressing one’s views on Facebook as everyone has the right of expression,” Sibal said last week.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN Abdullah Al- Muallami unveiled a beautifully framed old kiswa (covering) of the door of the Holy Kaaba at one of the newly refurbished halls of the world body. The...
A policeman was shot dead by an unknown gunman in Qatif in the Eastern Province on Tuesday night.According to a spokesman of the Eastern Province police, the firing took place at 11:30 p.m. in a suburb called Al-Jishi.The targeted police officer was...
JEDDAH: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, will leave for Egypt today on an official visit.This was announced in a statement released by the Royal Court.During the visit, the deputy crown prince wi...
JEDDAH: Jeddah Show, one of the many events of Jeddah Summer Festival 36, is attracting a large number of visitors. The sound-and-light show is being run at the Jeddah International Exhibition and Convention Center.The show tells the story of the Bri...
JEDDAH: The Riyadh Traffic Department carried out extensive campaigns on the main streets, intersections and squares in the city to boost traffic safety levels and discourage bad driving.During the first 72 hours of the campaign, traffic personnel re...
RIYADH: One of two women infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) died here in Riyadh, while the other patient is being treated at a hospital in Al-Kharj, some 60 km from the capital. Since June 2012, the Ministry of...
AL-AHSA: Approximately 20,000 tons of Al-Ahsa dates are planned to be marketed abroad during the new dates season.Muhammad Ismail, director general of the King Abdullah City for Dates (KACD), said: “The authorities in the city are planning to increas...
JEDDAH: Al-Bagdadiya neighborhood residents in Jeddah are living in a state of worry because of 20 abandoned houses, which serve as hideouts for criminals.Residents said some houses are on the verge of collapse and have turned into shelters for crimi...
JEDDAH: A committee consisting of representatives from the Hail governorate, municipality, health department and the Saudi Food and Drugs Administration (SFDA) has ordered the closure of a restaurant in the city’s industrial area.Twelve people suffer...
The board of the Saudia Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization has announced that mandatory application of the regulations on new tires produced or sold in the Kingdom will commence in November this year.The board explained that the technical...
JEDDAH: The number of people with mental health issues or depression is increasing in Saudi Arabia due to urbanization, marital or relationship problems, and not being able to keep up with rapid progress. A Saudi mother said that her daughter suffers...
JUBAIL: Jubail beaches are expected to receive many tourists during September as a large number of people usually head to the city once the summer gets cooler to enjoy their holiday here.As part of the beach preparations for this season, the Social S...
RIYADH: More than 50 percent of vehicle users in the Kingdom are not satisfied with the after-sales service of auto agencies in the Kingdom.In a survey conducted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI) to evaluate the performance of automobile...
JEDDAH: The Appeals Court has upheld the verdict issued by a specialized penal court which sentenced Dr. Said bin Zair to four years in prison from the date of his arrest in 1428.According to the ruling, the academician is also banned from traveling...
JEDDAH: Health authorities in the Eastern Province are expected to issue a decision soon against four Saudi nurses accused of “negligence” for an incident which led to the amputation of the hand of a Saudi girl after they tried to insert a needle in...

Stay Connected

Facebook