Sena shuts down Palghar, ‘impostor’ triggers another Facebook row

FP

Police in Palghar detained a teenager Wednesday for abusing Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Facebook, but discovered soon that the alleged offender had been impersonated on the social networking site by someone who had created a fake account using his name and picture.

This happened on a day the Shiv Sena shut down Palghar in support of the Thane (Rural) police, who are under fire from the state government for arresting two young women, one of whom had said on Facebook that a 'bandh' was not justified after Bal Thackeray's death, and another who had 'liked' her post.

Eighteen-year-old Sunil Vishvakarma, who belongs to a family of ironsmiths living in Palghar for the last 17 years, denied having posted expletive-laden messages that appeared on the fake Facebook page on Tuesday evening.

Police said preliminary investigation had indicated Vishvakarma was innocent and that someone had "stolen" his name. But the teen's family said on Wednesday evening that he had still not been allowed to return home.

The local MNS leader has demanded strong action against the alleged impostor.

Between 3 pm and 7 pm on Tuesday, the fake Vishvakarma exchanged three private messages with one Prem Patil. According to a copy of the conversation, the impostor first abused Patil, to which Patil retaliated by calling the impostor "Bhaiya", and dared the impostor to meet him at Palghar railway station at 8 o'clock that night, presumably to settle scores.

The fake Vishvakarma then responded by hurling Hindi expletives at Patil, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, and Marathi speakers in general.

Vishvakarma's elder brother Ramji said that a group of MNS workers paid the family a visit on Wednesday morning. "At 10 am, a few MNS workers came to our home and asked for Sunil. They did not create a ruckus, but told him they had read messages he had posted on Facebook, and asked him to come with them to the police station," Ramji said.

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