Updated: February 18, 2021 8:06:31 am
THE BJP government at the Centre must see reason and move to release 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi, who has been arrested by Delhi Police in the toolkit case, historian and author Ramachandra Guha said at a protest held in Bengaluru by various groups.
“What is the message we want to send the world – that we do not want a young girl to express her views? What is the future we want for our country – one of conformism, obedience, cult of personality? It is really awful. It is good that there are protests. This government should see reason and must release not just her but all such prisoners immediately,” Guha said at the protest held by a group of around 100 people, mostly students.
Guha, who has been the most prominent of protesters in Bengaluru on issues such as the Citizenship Amendment Act, participated briefly in the protest on Monday. “Students standing for farmers, for environmental protection, for democracy, for human rights are targeted. It is kind of a Chinese model. This kind of repression is much worse than anything seen since the emergency,” he said.
“If you feel that she has said something then she can be called in and spoken to but to arrest her, keep her in custody and charge sedition cases is worse than the colonial regime,” he said.
Students from the All India Students Association and colleges in Bengaluru held placards calling the arrest of the 22-year-old activist a “conspiracy against democracy”.
The United Federation of Karnataka’s Farmers-Workers-Dalits Pro-Peoples Organizations in a statement condemned the arrest and said that youths who are in the environment movement tend to support the farmers’ protests because both involve the future of our country.
“It has to be questioned as to how a girl residing in Karnataka could be permitted to be arrested by the Delhi Police,” said Vinay Sreenivas, an advocate for the federation.
Police in Bengaluru, however, said a person needs to be produced before a local magistrate at the place of arrest only if the person cannot be produced in the court that issued an arrest warrant within 24 hours of the arrest. The police claimed that Delhi Police told the jurisdictional police after Disha Ravi was detained and just before she was flown to Delhi.
“There are different kinds of cases. There’s nothing called protocol. We also go and arrest so many people from outside our state. The question is not that. The case was lodged in the national capital and Delhi Police acted on certain evidence,” Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said.
“This is a warning to the youths in the country that there is a situation worse than the emergency,” KPCC chief D K Shivakumar said.
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