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Nightmare OVER for Palghar girls held for FB post

Last updated on: January 31, 2013 20:11 IST

Nightmare OVER for Palghar girls

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The Palghar judicial magistrate on Thursday accepted the closure report filed by the police in connection to the arrest of two girls over a Facebook post.

The Palghar police had attracted condemnation from all quarters after it arrested two local girls  -- Shaheen Dhada and Reenu Srinivasan -- for criticising on Facebook the total shutdown across Mumbai and Thane in the wake of the death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.

 

Shiv Sena members had also ransacked a clinic owned by Shaheen's uncle Dr Abdul Gaffar Dhada.

 

The court on Thursday also rejected a protest petition, filed by Sena members, to take cognisance of the offence and also to issue summons to the two girls.

 

Judicial Magistrate First Class Palghar V S Yadav accepted the closure summary report filed by the Boisar Deputy Superintendent of Police Vijaykant Sagar and rejected the protest petition filed by Bhushan Sankhe, the complainant in the case.

 

Reportage: Ram Parmar

 

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Image: Shaheen Dhada with her father Farukh in their Palghar home
Photographs: Hanif Patel

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On December 18, Sagar had filed a closure report on the case against Dhada and Srinivasan, as per the orders of the Director General of Police Sanjeev Dayal.

 

The closure report mentioned that the case against the duo was "neither true nor false."

 

On December 22, the court issued a notice to Sankhe, asking him to respond as per procedure on or before January 7. But Sankhe sought time till January 11, stating that he needed to consult his lawyers and seek some vital documents, which had not been given by the Boisar DSP. The court had then set January 16 as the final date.

 

Sankhe, in his protest petition before the court, mentioned that the state government had acted in haste due to the pressure from the Centre.

 

Two officers -- Deputy Superintendent of Police Ravindra Sengaonkar of Thane Rural and Palghar Police Inspector Shrikant Pingle -- were suspended. Judicial Magistrate R Bagade was transferred to a court in Jalgaon.

 

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Image: Shaheen Dhada
Photographs: Hanif Patel

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Sankhe, in his petition, claimed that the comment made by Shaheen had angered scores of people.

 

The Palghar magistrate referred to two Supreme Court judgements while giving the order on Thursday.

 

Sankhe's counsel Kiran Gaikwad said they will file an appeal in the session court in Palghar within 90 days of receiving the copy of the judgment.

 

Minutes after the order, Shaheen said that she was relieved by the judgement.

 

"It was really uncomfortable for my family to see a huge police presence near my house, which was a hindrance to my daily routine. Now I am truly free. The court has taken the right decision," she said.

 

Her friend Reenu admitted that the last couple of months had been tense due to the media exposure and the police presence near her house.

 

"I am very happy right now," she said.

 

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Image: From left, Reenu Srinivasan and Shaheen Dhada with Shaheen's uncle Dr Abdul Gaffar Dhada
Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

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TIMELINE OF EVENTS

 

Nov 18: Shaheen Dhada posts a comment on Facebook regarding Mumbai's shutdown following the death of Bal Thackeray. Her friend Reenu Srinivasan 'likes' the comment.

 

Nov 18: The Palghar unit of Shiv Sena file files a FIR against Shaheen and Reenu. Vandals ransack Shaheen's uncle's clinic.

 

Nov 19: Shaheen and Reenu are arrested, later granted bail.

 

Nov 20: Ten men are arrested for vandalising the clinic.

 

Nov 25: Shaheen and family leave for their native town Jetpur near Rajkot, Gujarat.

 

Nov 26: Thane rural superintendent of police and Palghar's senior inspector suspended.

 

Nov 26: Magistrate RG Bagade transferred.

 

Nov 28: Shiv Sena calls Palghar bandh.

 

Nov 29: State Director General of Police Sanjeev Dayal assures the outraged public that the case against the two girls will be dropped.

 

Dec 3: Girls are exempted by the Palghar court from making weekly appearances at the police station.

 

Dec 4: Shaheen and her family return to Palghar from Gujarat.

 

Dec 7: Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan says charges against the girls will be dropped and a criminal case will be pursued against the vandals.

 

Dec 9: Gujarat CM Narendra Modi says Shaheed moved to Gujarat as she felt safer there than Maharashtra

 

Dec 15: Shaheen reactivates her Facebook account.

 

Dec 18: Three more arrested for vandalising the clinic, later sent to police custody.

 

Dec 18: Boisar DYSP files 'C' summary report in Palghar sessions court.

 

Dec 22: Palghar sessions court issues notice to complainant Bhushan Sankhe to reply to police report.

 

Jan 7: Complainant seeks time to reply to notice.

 

Jan 11: Complainant seeks more time to reply to notice.

 

Jan 16: Complainant files protest petition before Palghar sessions court.

 

Jan 18: The state government files its reply.

 

Jan 31: The Palghar court accepts the police's closure report and rejects protest petition filed by Bhushan Sankhe.

 

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Image: Palghar on the day Sena called a bandh over the FB post
Photographs: Jatin B Patil

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