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

JEDDAH: Social media is abuzz with the news of an 80-year-old man who has been relieved of his duties after working for four decades at the Prophet’s Mosque. Citizens have launched a campaign for the man, identified as Moqtada by publishing his photo...
DAMMAM: The World Heritage Committee of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added the rock art in Hail to the World Heritage List. The addition was made during the committee’s 39th session in Bonn, Germany, and becam...
Huge projects change the faces of cities and great ambitions help create such projects. Madinah had its date with a quantum leap to usher in a new era of urban development. Such huge projects help achieve formidable civilization advancements and sign...
RIYADH: The Japanese ambassador to the Kingdom, Noriheiro Okoda, has held a meeting with Hashem Abdullah Yamani, president of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE), and discussed bilateral cooperation in the fields of atom...
AL-BAHA: Forty three percent of Al-Baha cannot be developed easily because of the region’s mountainous terrain.This is the view of Khaled Al-Sayegh, undersecretary for construction at the municipality, who was speaking at an event held at the College...
JEDDAH: An official at the Council of Saudi Chambers said the council’s members are discussing a regulation to submit to the Ministry of Labor and other government agencies to deny a number of privileges to companies that force its labor to work unde...
ABHA: With many families wanting new furniture during Ramadan, furniture and interior decorating shops are raising prices to more than double what they were before the month.Homeowner Zaina Mohammed says she used to change her home furniture every Ra...
RIYADH: Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) President Prince Sultan bin Salman described the first visit by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to Madinah as “historic.”In his comments following the visit which saw th...
MADINAH: Economists expected the volume of investments in Madinah’s economies during the coming few years to reach SR500 billion.The forecasted growth in the population, to reach 2.6 million people after 25 years, and the number of visitors to 12.2 m...
JEDDAH: It seems that many Saudi families are gradually coming to terms with the new reality of living in apartments, as building villas is not possible due to shortage of appropriate land.With the increasing display of housing units by the Ministry...
RIYADH: Migrant rights advocacy group Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) has lambasted their country’s leadership over the claim that the number of overseas Filipino workers are declining due to sustained economic growth in the Philippines.The group has cal...
RIYADH: A charitable foundation called “Smile” will be launched on Sunday night at the Al-Hokair Land in the Saudi capital to make people happy. “The foundation will be launched to make Saudi Arabia a center of smiles,” well-known television host and...
MAKKAH: The Kingdom has seen a sharp rise in the number of Umrah pilgrims to around 6 million from 1.5 million in the last 16 years. Moreover, the number of pilgrims overstaying their visas has come down to about 1 percent. The Ministry of Haj has be...
RIYADH: The King Khalid Foundation (KKF) said here recently that it has financed small enterprises (SMEs) run by 130 widows in some of the Kingdom’s provinces.KKF hosted an iftar party last week for local media at its headquarters in Riyadh at which...
JEDDAH: Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz bin Musaed, governor of the Northern Borders province, has died.He will be buried after Taraweeh prayers in Jeddah on Saturday, the Royal Court said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency. No other det...

Stay Connected

Facebook