Press Council of India chief Markandey Katju today demanded "immediate" action against police personnel for reportedly arresting a woman in Mumbai protesting the shutdown in the city on Bal Thackeray's demise on social networking site
In an e-mail to the Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, he warned of "legal consequences" if the CM failed to act.
"I will deem it that you as CM are unable to run the state in a democratic manner as envisaged by the Constitution to which you have taken oath and then legal consequences will follow," Katju said.
He demanded that the Chavan immediately order suspension, arrest, chargesheeting and criminal prosecution of the police personnel responsible for arresting the women allegedly on the ground of hurting sentiments.
"To my mind it is absurd to say that protesting against the bandh hurts religious sentiments. Under Article 19 of our Constitution, freedom of speech is guaranteed fundamental right. We are living in a democracy, not a fascist dictatorship.
"In fact, this arrest itself appears to be a criminal act since under sections 341 and 342, it is a crime to wrongfully arrest or wrongfully confine someone who has committed no crime," he said.
At the AICC briefing, Congress spokesperson Sandip Dikshit parried questions on the issue saying it is something to which the Maharashtra government will respond.
"I have no idea. We will find out," he said to repeated questions on the arrest.
Dikshit, however, justified giving state funeral to Thackeray saying " it is in some total that a person's life is evaluated.... His contributions, emotions of citizens and population of the areas...All these things are taken into account before taking a decision on state funeral."
He was responding to questions on why the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra decided to give a state funeral to
Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy also condemned the arrest, demanding that the Chief Minister apologise to the woman for "reckless disregard of the the Constitution and fundamental rights by the Maharashtra administration".
"I demand that the criminal case be withdrawn and the Chief Minister offer his apologies to the young girl," Swamy said.
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