Pune/ New Delhi: Four more activists of a right wing Hindu outfit were arrested by police in the brutal murder of a young IT professional in a Pune suburb taking the total arrests in the case to 17 even as authorities mulled invoking a law that would make it difficult to get bail.
Mohasin Shaikh, 28, a resident of Bankar Colony in Hadapsar, was bludgeoned to death wih hockey sticks allegedly by a group of men with links to Hindu Rashtra Sena(HRS) during protests after an objectionable post was uploaded on Facebook by unknown people which denigrated warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji and Shiv Sena chief late Bal Thackeray.
Pune Police Commissioner Satish Mathur said today authorities are mulling invoking the stringent provisions of Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act (MPDAA) making it difficult for them to secure bail.
The move by authorities came even as the newly elected BJP MP from Pune Anil Shirole made a controversial statement that though the incident (murder) was "unfortunate" the repercussions of the derogatory post were "natural".
"What happened is unfortunate but after the Facebook post some repercussion was natural," he said, but hastened to add "we are making all efforts for restoring peace in Pune, people there want peace."
Some media reports said the posts might have originated from Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in a foreign country but there was no official word on it.
Those arrested have been booked under various sections of IPC including murder.
In addition, about 180 persons have been arrested in connection with cases related to the rioting and damaging of city buses in the area in the incidents on Sunday and Monday during the bandh called to protest against the Facebook post.
Mathur said the role of self-styled chief of HRS Dhananjay Desai in the murder was under investigation. Desai was arrested in a case filed against him for circulating inflammatory literature after the violence.
Police are also probing the conspiracy angle to the murder after emergence of an SMS circulated by the accused among themselves which said in Marathi "Ek wicket geli (one wicket has fallen)".
Asked about the possibility of imposing a ban on HRS, Mathur said such a move needed thorough investigation and documentation of the organisation's activities and cannot be taken in a hurry.
The arrested accused were produced before a magistrate who remanded them in police custody till June 9.
The situation in the area remained peaceful with no fresh violence in the last two days, police said. An appeal has been issued to citizens not to circulate or forward provocative messages on social media or spread rumours through SMS.
Home Ninister R R Patil said strict action will be taken against those responsible for the incident.
"Some people always want to create communal tension. Strict action will be taken against all those responsible," he said in Mumbai.