“Be very careful what you set your heart on, for you will surely achieve it.”
How apt is this old French Proverb can by gauged from the case of two poor girls.They did not know that by venting their heart and mind on Facebook would leave them shell-shocked, nervous an terrorized.
In fact,one of them had posted a comment on this site on the Mumbai bandh on the day Balasaheb Thackeray was cremated.The other one had just shared it.Result?
Both were arrested by the Mumbai police.Worse,late Thackeray’s loyal soldiers-Shiv Sainiks-vandalised a hospital owned by one of these girls’ parents.
“Am scared, will never post again. I apologise for posting the comments,” the 21-year-old girl, who thought freedom of expression was guaranteed under Article 19, said soon after being arrested by the Mumbai police under the IPC/IT sections.
“I was shocked. I have never dreamt that I would be taken to a police station and then to a court in my life. I will think twice before posting any comments,” said another girl, whose offence was to have shared her friend’s posting soon after Thackeray left this world after striding like a colossus on the back of anti-Muslim, anti-south Indian and anti-North Indian rhetoric during the last four decades.
Reacting to the arrest of the girls and their production in a court in Mumbai, Union Communication and Information Technology Minister Milind Deora told a TV news channel on Tuesday, “I am not commenting in the capacity of a minister or an MP. I am also not a lawyer. But as a lay man, FIR against the two innocent girls was unwarranted.”
He added: “The posting was neither menacing nor had named any person. So booking them was uncalled for…I am glad that the Maharastra DGP and the state government have ordered an enquiry into the lodging of the FIR. I think the police officer would be booked…(for) acting in haste on very innocent girls.”
A non-plussed uncle of one of the girls, who is the president of the Indian Medical Association said, “I was away when 200/300 people came and vandalized my hospital, ransacked a huge property…and nobody would pay for the damage.”
Apparently fearing a repeat assault by the Shiv Sainiks, the doctor said he could not identify the perpetrators as he was not present when the destruction took place.
Terming the sections lodged against the girls as “draconian”, popular author Chetan Bhagat told the channel that the era of King or God-like figures leading political parties was coming to an end and the youth would not tolerate such politics.
“The arrest of a girl for posting comments and another for sharing it is unfortunate. The police made a wrong step….no state should misuse the law or an act on the common people, so that they would not be scared to express their opinion,” Bhagat said adding such steps would affect the youth vote bank for the perpetrators.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Sweta Parulekar, however, defended the police action saying “Citizens have to keep certain limits. When people make comments see that they don’t hurt the sentiments of others.”
The “unwarranted” police action against the two girls and forcing them to apologize their legitimate comments can be summed up best by these two adages, “Upon deciding, be quick to act….(but) over action brings contempt.”