Mumbai: NCP on Friday came to the defence of Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil, saying that he could not be blamed for the arrest of two girls by Palghar police over a facebook comment.

NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said there was nothing objectionable in Shaheen Dhada's facebook comment, but "R R Patil did not give the order to arrest the girls". The arrest of Dhada and her friend Renu Srinivasan over the comment -- which questioned shutting-down of Mumbai in the wake of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's death has come in for flak from across the country.

Congress ministers had criticised Patil, who belongs to NCP, over the issue at Thursday's cabinet meeting. Malik said it was responsibility of both Congress and NCP "to ensure smooth functioning of the government".      

"Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has already conveyed his wish that both parties should contest the 2014 elections together. Chavan is a sensitive leader who takes sensible decisions," Malik added.

Meanwhile, talking to reporters elsewhere, Patil said the state government would ask the Centre to bring clarity in the Information Technology Act (the girls were arrested under provisions of IPC and the IT Act).

Police would be asked to seek legal advice before taking action or filing FIR in such matters in future, he said.


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