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FB arrest: Shiv Sainiks 'forced women to apologise'
It is quite strange that not many women groups have come in support of the two harassed young girls of Mumbai for their comments expressing their discomfort on the Facebook regarding recent Mumbai shutdown caused by the demise of Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray. However on November 21, in Delhi, The All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) demanded strict action against those responsible for the arbitrary arrest of two aggrieved girls.

DELHI-BASED AIDWA, established in 1981, works for women's rights and for their education, employment and status, along with issues like casteism, communalism, child rights and disaster aid. The association has an annual membership fee of one rupee only and has over 10 million members across 23 states of India.

According to AIDWA, it was the Shiv Sainiks and the local police who caused harassment to two girls and the former indulged in violence. It was demanded that the Government must take immediate action against the Shiv Sainiks and ensure protection for the young girls and their families; AIDWA has also demanded that the two girls be compensated for the wrong use of police authority.

Expressing deep concern and outrage at the high handed arrest of the two young women in Palghar, AIDWA stated that the local Shiv Sainiks, true to the intolerance practiced by their party, intimidated the girls into giving a forced apology. AIDWA is of the view that the police action reveals a complicity of the police and the local Shiv Sainiks to vandalise two hospitals of a relative of one of the women and intimidate their families.

Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary, AIDWA stated, “Shockingly, the Palghar police, instead of providing them security and taking action against those harassing them, arrested the women on serious charges of outraging religious feelings and posting an offensive message. After a public uproar these were later changed to an arbitrary charge of ‘creating enmity’. This is a complete travesty of the constitutional right to democratic freedom of expression available to every citizen of India.”

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Vibhav Kant Upadhyay
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