It was a random post, didnít mean to offend, say women in FB row

FP

In Dr Abdul Dhada's consulting room at the Dhada orthopaedic hospital, two girls with scarves wrapped tightly across their faces are seated on stools awaiting the second round of interviews of the day, their expressions inscrutable. Outside, a man with a hammer nails a battered window into its frame as the hospital returns to being functional.

During a breather between interviews, Rinu Srinivas pulls the scarf off. But Shaheen Dhada doesn't. Ever since Shaheen's Facebook post questioning the closure of Mumbai in the aftermath of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's death, and her arrest that followed, she and her friend Rinu have fielded a volley of questions ranging from what made them do it to what they would do now.

"It was a spontaneous post, I just wrote what I felt like at that time. It was not meant to offend anyone and I did not expect that the issue would become this big," Shaheen said.

"Within minutes of uploading my status message, Rinu 'liked' it. But another friend objected to it. A few family friends then came to our home and told us that what I had done was wrong and that a mob had gathered outside the hospital. I immediately apologised on Facebook but the mob demanded that I issue a written apology. The police came and said we should go to the police station and write an apology," she said.

"I found that my account was hacked and had no idea what the hacker would post in my name. I tendered an apology and deleted my account. I will, however, recreate an account later," Shaheen said.

She is brief and talks to the point, looking constantly at her uncle who fills in her silences.

"The Shiv Sena was very co-operative and did not pressure us to issue an apology. Shaheen apologised after realising that her post had offended a lot of people," said Abdul.

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