Chandigarh, Sept. 18: The parents of the 22-year-old girl booked for allegedly abusing Chandigarh traffic police on Facebook over lack of action in a car-theft case appealed today for leniency amid indications such relief could be on way.
Henna Bakshi’s father Colonel P. Bakshi claimed his daughter, a national bravery award winner as a child, was distressed over the police not taking any concrete action after her vehicle was stolen.
“I have talked to senior police officers and I hope they will take a lenient view. She was only anguished and did not know what she was doing,” said Bakshi, adding that “her comments were not intended towards anyone in particular”.
The administration, too, indicated it could let off Henna, who posted the comments on the traffic police’s website, lightly but asked youngsters to be more responsible.
“We are looking into the case with a lenient view. At the same time, we want youngsters to be more responsible while communicating with government departments,” a senior officer said.
Chandigarh home secretary appeared to suggest that Henna’s situation needed to be viewed differently from other cases. “She is a young girl who lost the vehicle. Depending on the situation, we will take a balanced view, I will say a lenient view,” Anil Kumar told reporters this evening.
The authorities’ reassurances came as questions cropped up on the timing of the action. The post-graduate student was booked on September 14, nearly a month after the comments were posted on the department’s Facebook page on Independence Day. “She has been booked under Section 66-A and Section 67 of the IT Act and can be imprisoned for up to five years along with a fine,” another officer said.
According to Bakshi, the case had taken the family by surprise and the circumstances should have been taken into consideration before the cops decided to prosecute her. “No one from the police department informed us of the decision to file a case against her. It came out of the blue.”
Many lawyers believe the cops should have met the Bakshis, with some saying the matter should have been settled with an apology.
“It is pertinent for the investigators to verify whether her comments were an expression of her anguish. In this case, no attempt was made to meet her personally. The police had all the details they wanted. They should have verified first. Although the use of expletives cannot be justified, her age and the entire context in which she reacted should be taken into account. It is certain she did not realise the implications,” a senior lawyer said.
But some in the police felt the case was justified. “She should have stopped posting offensive comments after three warnings. She did not,” another officer said.
Henna’s mother Ranjana also argued that her daughter was merely venting her frustration. “I don’t think she has done anything wrong. I don’t think she wrote something really out of the way.”