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Teen FB post stirs fresh dust

Mumbai, Nov. 28: Thane police today questioned a teenaged boy for an allegedly abusive Facebook post against Raj Thackeray but appeared to be treading with caution after the arrest of two women under tough cyber law provisions boomeranged on two officers.

Officials said they had not yet registered a case against Palghar resident Sunil Vishwakarma, 19, and were still verifying the Internet protocol address and the authenticity of the Facebook profile following a complaint by local Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leaders.

The complaint came on a day the Shiv Sena enforced a bandh in Palghar to protest the suspension of the two police officers for arresting Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan for wondering on Facebook why Mumbai had to shut down because of Bal Thackeray’s death.

One of the sections slapped against them was 66A, which makes it a crime for anyone to digitally send information that is “grossly offensive” or has “menacing character” or which causes anyone “annoyance” or “inconvenience”.

The magistrate, who initially ordered judicial remand of the women before granting them bail, has been transferred.

The MNS leaders in Palghar, Thane, said they had been receiving calls about an “abusive” post against Raj that also allegedly targeted Marathi manoos (sons of the soil) and women. “I was told that such a post was put up on Monday night which used extremely obscene and abusive language. We approached the police today so that the person could be traced and appropriate action taken against him,” said MNS Palghar city chief Kundan Sankhe.

Thane city commissioner K.P. Raghuvanshi said the cyber cell had been helping the police in the investigation.

“A case has not been registered. The boy is co-operating with our investigation. He says that he did not put up the post and it seems to have been hacked,” state police chief Sanjeev Dayal said.

Officials said the boy, who works in a mutton shop, told the police he did not know how to operate the Internet and had nothing to do with the profile that has the post.

Although MNS leaders wanted a complaint to be filed under IT laws, the police took a cautious approach. “We are still questioning the boy. Only when enough proof is verified will we be able to file a case,” said an official.

A police source said Vishwakarma was planning to lodge a complaint against unknown persons for using his name and creating a fake profile to write against Raj.

Sena workers said the bandh — called against the suspension of Ravindra Sengaokar, SP, Thane (rural), and Srikant Pingale, senior inspector, Palghar police station — had been successful, with shops, schools and colleges staying shut.