Retired IPS officer M Nageshwara Rao and former Chief Justice of Sikkim Permod Kohli, along with others, have written to President Ram Nath Kovind, condemning those who are defending climate activist Disha Ravi arrested in the ‘toolkit’ case. Rao is a 1986 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who held the position of acting Director of the CBI in 2019.
In their letter, the former IPS officer and judges said, “We are surprised to note that the criminal’s age is being highlighted to prove innocence. Legally speaking, no adult is absolved of any crime to conspire with foreign elements inimical to India. In the instant case, age is immaterial, what matters is (the) series of actions that are naturally anti-national.”
The letter to the president says that 21-year-old Disha Ravi has been arrested for being a member of a group of conspirators that prepared a toolkit that contains a document, meant for circulation among people of a certain ideological persuasion to guide them on following various media houses, established fact-checkers and NGOs and other groups to defame India in the international forum and incite anti-social and anti-national acts by using some farmer groups protesting on the outskirts of Delhi.
“There has been an attempt to incite violence in India just as the infamous 1984 statement saying — the Earth shakes when a big tree falls — caused havoc,” reads the letter.
Defending the union government, the signatories of the letter to the president wrote that a few immature individuals with vested interests are attempting to magnify the legal action by the police to hide their anti-national activities by making baseless allegations and indulging in slander against Delhi Police to demoralise them.
“Information available on open sources clearly establishes that the toolkit document contains the list of persons or groups to be followed having linkages with ISI and Khalistani groups. It is reported by the media that the conspirators had a Zoom meeting to use the ongoing farmers’ agitation for disrupting the public order. This meeting was attended by many pro-Khalistani elements, including the founder of Poetic Justice Foundation and ISI agents,” the letter alleges.
Over the recent protests in various countries in support of the agitating section of Indian farmers, the signatories say it is “sickening to note that a few Indian citizens have actively engaged with banned elements and organisations who coordinated and perfected a plan to organise protests in front of all Indian Embassies, High Commissions and Consul-General offices in leading cities in (the) USA, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe to defame the Government of India by spreading false propaganda.”
“By this act, they have not only attempted to undermine the confidence the Indian expatriate community and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) have in the present government but have tried to mislead the elected representatives of these foreign governments which is clearly an act prejudicial to friendly relations of our nation with these countries and amounts to an illegal act.”
Condemning those who are defending Disha Ravi for her age, the former IPS officers and judges said, “The very fact that the conspirator had allegedly deleted the WhatsApp group messages on coming to know that police had got the clue about the contents of the same, clearly proves that the culprit was aware of illegal actions. Such actions to instigate protests against Indian Embassies and thereby building international pressure against India’s farm laws need to be condemned as these are highly objectionable adventures that are normally not undertaken by people of ordinary prudence.”
In the letter, they have alleged that Disha Ravi “has been conspiring with banned anti-national elements and persons who were acting in a manner which would adversely affect the friendly relations with foreign countries and create unrest affecting the public order in our country.”
“It is unfortunate that some so-called intellectuals are trying to paint the incident of the arrest of Disha as a violation of the fundamental right of freedom of speech. Her actions are being defended even though such actions prima facie disclose a serious cognisable offence. Arrest in a cognisable offence is a normal sequence of events. What is abnormal or different in this case is the hue and cry being raised by these groups or individuals. The allegations supported with material collected by the investigating agency so far do point to the conspiracy aimed at causing hatred against the lawfully established government and also tend to threaten the social fiber of the nation by resorting to violence. Delhi Police is only discharging its legal duty,” it read.
The signatories have appealed to the union government, through their letter to the president, to give the Delhi Police a free hand to investigate the ‘toolkit’ case and “to bring to book all those rogue elements who have allowed themselves to be used by secessionist forces in India and abroad, trying to spread anarchy and provide intellectual cover to anti-national forces to serve their own selfish ends”.
Delhi Police had arrested Disha Ravi from Bengaluru for her alleged role in helping create and share an online “protest toolkit” outlining how to spread anarchy in the country in the name of supporting the ongoing — but now dwindling — farmers’ protests. She has been charged with conspiracy and sedition and is currently in three-day judicial custody.