A Delhi court is hearing a bail application that Disha Ravi, among the Indian collaborators of PR-created ‘climate’ activist Greta Thunberg, has moved. Delhi Police had arrested her on 13 February from Bengaluru for creating an online “toolkit” allegedly intended to incite farmers for rioting protesting against the three farm reform laws.
The police accuse Disha Ravi of sedition. The court today sent her to three-day judicial custody on 19 February after the expiry of her police custody.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju, appearing for Delhi Police, opposed the bail plea, saying that after the toolkit leaked on social media, the miscreants carried out a cover-up operation, which involved deleting many of its parts. Thereafter, the prosecution added Sections 201 and 204 of the Indian penal Code (IPC), which deal with destruction of evidence, against the activist.
The ASG said that the toolkit had a cheat sheet that contained information that defames the Indian Army. He said it had nothing to do with the farmers’ protest. “Ravi had the right to edit the toolkit and she later deleted everything. This is the working of a guilty mind,” said the lawyer, adding that the toolkit was part of a “sinister design”.
Twenty two-year-old Ravi is part of an organisation founded by Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg.
Police allege that Ravi was involved in creating and sharing an online document containing advice for protesters. Police say this document stoked the violence that took place on Republic Day last month.
Late on 19 February, Thunberg posted two tweets with a hashtag supporting Disha.
“Freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest and assembly are non-negotiable human rights. These must be a fundamental part of any democracy. #StandWithDishaRavi,” Thunberg said in one of her tweets.
During the hearing yesterday, additional public prosecutor (APP) Irfan Ahmed told the court Disha Ravi had been “evasive” during interrogation and shifted the blame onto the co-accused Nikita Jacob and Muluk. Ahmed said the police wanted to question her again and bring her face-to-face with the co-accused in this case.
Ravi’s lawyer Siddharth Agarwal countered the public prosecutor, saying the case diary was not properly given.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court directed the media and the police to exercise restraint while giving out the details of the case. The order came on a plea by Ravi to instruct the police not to divulge information from the ongoing probe against her. The high court, however, said that there should be a balance between the right to privacy and freedom of speech of people, and the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
Thunberg had tweeted a link to the toolkit, a Google document, earlier this month — that the police are investigating — before replacing it with an “updated” one.
Delhi Police has sought to link the toolkit with the 26 January riot in the national capital and pro-Khalistani organisations.