February 16, 2021 2:07:08 am
Terming the arrest of 22-year-old environment activist Disha Ravi as “extra-judicial abduction” and an “unprecedented attack on democracy”, the AAP Monday demanded her immediate release and underlined that dissent “is not equal to sedition”.
Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Arrest of 21 yr old Disha Ravi is an unprecedented attack on Democracy. Supporting our farmers is not a crime (sic).”
Addressing a news conference, AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha quoted the Supreme Court as having said in a recent judgment that “deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one day too many”. The SC had made the observation in November 2020 while pulling up the Bombay High Court over its handling of a plea by Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami in an abetment to suicide case.
“If this is not an Emergency, then what is?” Chadha said, appealing to the youth to oppose the “suppression of dissent” in the country.
“AAP condemns the arrest of Disha Ravi in the strongest possible terms. A government with a mammoth majority is scared of a 21-year-old student environment activist. It is a clear reflection of the fact that the Narendra Modi government is scared and allergic of the country’s youth (sic),” Chadha said.
Emphasising that Article 19 of the Indian Constitution guarantees free speech and expression, Chadha asked the Union government and the Delhi Police, which comes under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, to release the purported evidence that links her to forces inimical to India’s interests.
“I urge upon the police to release those two purported sentences in the toolkit that they are citing to justify her arrest. Let them make those lines public. Will those two sentences shake the foundations of the republic? I want to say clearly that dissent is not equal to sedition. Disagreeing with the government does not amount to sedition against the nation,” Chadha said.
“BJP leaders never tire of speaking about their stance during the Emergency under Indira Gandhi. For them, their jail during the Emergency is a badge of honour. And the same crop of leaders is taking the country towards an undeclared Emergency by arresting a 21-year-old. If this is not an Emergency then what is?” he added.
Responding to Kejriwal’s tweet, Northeast Delhi MP and former state BJP chief Manoj Tiwari wrote: “You have set a new precedent by brazenly supporting all who instigate violence. Indian government is working for betterment of farmers. Yoga and tea are our essentials but inciting violence in the name of farmers is a crime and it has nothing to do with age.”
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