Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today expressed his opposition to the arrest of 21-year-old eco-activist Disha Ravi saying the move by the Delhi police was an "unprecedented attack on democracy". The Bengaluru resident was taken into custody on Saturday for her role in the "Toolkit" case. It was filed against people who had created the online document in support of protesting Indian farmers and saw the involvement of Swedish national and environmentalist Greta Thunberg. She is the first person to be arrested in the case and has been charged with sedition and conspiracy.
Arrest of 21 yr old Disha Ravi is an unprecedented attack on Democracy. Supporting our farmers is not a crime.— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 15, 2021
The police, which had earlier said that the "Toolkit" was a Khalistani conspiracy, has accused Ms Ravi of being a key conspirator in the document's formulation and dissemination and alleged that she is trying to revive a Sikh separatist group.
"I did not make Toolkit. We wanted to support the farmers. I edited two lines on February 3," Ms Ravi told a Delhi court where she was produced yesterday.
Speaking to media persons later, the Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Raghav Chadha said those who refer to the Emergency period of the 1970s at the drop of a hat are now taking the country towards an undeclared Emergency. "You have arrested a 21-year-old kid without following the procedure, without a transit remand...If this is not Emergency, then what is?" he asked.
Demanding the immediate release of Ms Ravi, Mr Chadha referred to her arrest as "extra-judicial abduction".
Mr Kejriwal's government and AAP, like many other political outfits such as the Congress, Akali Dal, SP and BSP have voiced their support for the ongoing farmer protest against three new central laws.
The Congress, too, has called Ms Ravi's arrest "atrocious".
बोल कि लब आज़ाद हैं तेरे— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 15, 2021
बोल कि सच ज़िंदा है अब तक!
वो डरे हैं, देश नहीं!
India won't be silenced. pic.twitter.com/jOXWdXLUzY
The 21-year-old is a graduate of Mount Carmel College, one of Bengaluru's top women's colleges. The Delhi police, which arrested Ms Ravi on Saturday evening, claimed she was influenced by terrorists like Gurpatwant Singh Pannu and Khalistani groups like Poetic Justice. Thousands of others are involved in the conspiracy and further investigation into the matter is in progress, it said.
Ms Ravi had no legal counsel when she was produced in court yesterday and sent to five days in police custody.
On February 3, Greta Thunberg had tweeted the "toolkit" to show support for the farmers' protest against the Centre's farm laws that has been in progress at the borders of Delhi since November 26. She later deleted the tweet, posting an updated one.
The Delhi police are now looking for two more activists in the case: Nikita Jacob and Shantanu. Both face charges that are not bailable.