It was unfair, Shaheen Dadha who was arrested for posting a comment on Facebook after Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's death said Tuesday as police nabbed nine people for allegedly vandalising her uncle's clinic following her post.
The nine, all believed to be from the Shiv Sena, were arrested Monday night.
"Nine people were arrested late Monday night under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for rioting and vandalising... We are looking to make more arrests," said an official from Thane's Palghar police station near Mumbai where the clinic was vandalised.
Thane rural police had arrested Shaheen for questioning the shutdown in the city after Thackeray's death Saturday and the subsequent shutdown Sunday for his funeral and cremation. Her friend Renu who had 'liked' the post was also arrested.
As debate over the high handedness of the police intensified, Renu, Shaheen and her uncle Abdul Dadha told journalists Tuesday that they had sworn off Facebook and would never post anything on the social networking site.
"It is very unfair. I am not scared. But I just want to apologise," is all Shaheen would say.
Traumatised by their experiences, both girls needed much coaxing to talk. After much persuasion, Shaheen did concede that their arrests were unfair and that she never dreamt she would have to go to the police station for her "mistake".
Abdul Dadha said his niece was not arrested Sunday night but was only detained at the police station on security grounds. "The formal arrest was made only in the morning (Monday)," he said.
He said his orthopaedic clinic was totally ransacked. He added that he had lost a lot of money and his practice and that nobody was going to pay for the damages.
Maharashtra Director General of Police Sanjeev Dayal Monday ordered a probe into the arrests.
"An inquiry has been ordered in the case and a report will be submitted by the inspector general of the Konkan range Saturday," Dayal had told IANS Monday.
Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju also wrote two emails to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and demanded immediate action.
Terming the girls' arrest "blatant misuse of state machinery", Katju also asked why this arrest of a woman was made in Mumbai just for putting up an apparently innocuous material on the Facebook.
He also asked what action has been taken against the "delinquent policemen" and others involved in this high handedness.
The PCI chairman added that if Chavan failed to take action, he would "deem it that you as chief minister are unable to run the state in a democratic manner as envisaged by the constitution to which you have taken oath, and then the legal consequences will follow".