The Maharashtra government ought to be ashamed of itself. Rather than arrest the few dozen thugs who vandalized a doctor’s clinic because his niece questioned why the state had to shut down after the death of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray, the police arrested the girl. Worse, they also arrested another girl who “liked” her statement on Facebook.
Exercising the right to free speech, as enshrined in the Constitution, is one thing; deliberately setting out to provoke someone with an offensive comment, another; and using brute force to enforce a point of view, still another. A responsible government should come down hard on the third (using all the power at its disposal), seek legal recourse for the second, and ignore the first. But then, India has a long history of governments, both at the Centre and the states, kowtowing to fringe elements of all hues. It was, after all, the first country to ban The Satanic Verses.