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Disha Ravi says if highlighting farmers’ protest is sedition, it’s better to be in jail; court reserves order on bail plea

Disha Ravi bail plea: The Delhi Police, meanwhile, opposed her bail plea, alleging she was preparing the toolkit with those advocating Khalistan and was part of a global conspiracy to defame India and create unrest in the country in the garb of farmers' protest.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 20, 2021 10:48:08 pm
Disha Ravi, toolkit case, Greta ThunbergDisha Ravi arrives at a court in New Delhi. (File Photo: Reuters)

Stating that there is no evidence to link Disha Ravi with Sikhs For Justice, a banned organisation, the climate activist’s counsel Siddharth Agarwal Saturday told a Delhi court that “if highlighting farmers’ protest globally is sedition, I am better in jail.”

During a hearing on a bail plea by Ravi at the Patiala House Court, the Delhi Police had argued that the 22-year-old needs to be thoroughly investigated as “she was aware of the criminality of her actions”. The police told the court that the investigation will reveal the “sinister design to defame India”. It has reserved the order on Disha’s bail plea for February 23.

On Friday, Ravi was sent in judicial custody for three days in connection with the Greta Thunberg toolkit case after the police informed the Delhi court that the activist had been evasive during interrogation and shifted the blame on the co-accused Shantanu Muluk and Nikita Jacob.

Responding to the arguments, the defence told the court that Ravi was not a rebel without a cause. “There’s a cause of environment, of agriculture and interlink between them,” he said.

Further citing an allegation in the FIR that Yoga and ‘Chai’ are being targeted, Disha’s counsel questioned if it is an offence. The defence also stated that nobody arrested in connection with the Red Fort violence has said that they were inspired by the toolkit and added that there was no evidence to show that the toolkit was responsible for the riots during the farmers’ march on January 26.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana was hearing the bail plea of Ravi.

Opposing the bail request, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju, representing the Delhi Police, said Ravi’s custody was required to confront her as she had tried to put the blame on the other two accused. He further said that if the 22-year-old is enlarged on bail, the purpose of the custodial interrogation would be frustrated.

The ASG added that large volumes of data still need to be analysed as the investigation had just been initiated.

During the hearing, the ASG contested that this was not just a toolkit but “the real plan was to defame India and create unrest here.” The final toolkit was also shared with the Poetic Justice Foundation – a secessionist organisation which advocates for Khalistan, he said.

He argued that the accused was creating a conspiracy with the Poetic Justice Foundation and had scheduled three zoom meetings with the organisation. “The PJF got in touch with Disha to device a scheme to make a criminal conspiracy on farmers’ protest as they wanted an Indian face,” he said.

“Disha Ravi was part of the Indian chapter of global conspiracy to defame India, create unrest in garb of farmers’ protest,” the police said.

Further citing parts of the toolkit which were allegedly later removed by the accused, the ASG said references to ‘Farmers protest cheatsheet’ and ‘Ask India’ were removed and added that these sections were hyperlinked to websites that talked about Kashmir genocide.

The Delhi Police further argued that Disha trying to cover her tracks and deleting the evidence “shows her guilty mind and sinister design.”

Ravi was arrested by a Cyber Cell team of the Delhi Police from Bengaluru on Saturday in connection with the toolkit backing the farmers’ agitation. The police have claimed that she had sent the toolkit to Thunberg through the Telegram app, and also “coaxed her to act on it”.

The Delhi Police has alleged that Ravi was the “key conspirator” in the formulation and dissemination of the document and that she collaborated with pro-Khalistani group Poetic Justice Foundation to “spread disaffection against Indian state” and also shared the doc with Thunberg.

The toolkit on the farmers’ protest had come under the police scanner after Thunberg tweeted it on February 3, with the police claiming that the sequence of events in the farmers’ protests, including the violent incidents at the Red Fort on Republic Day, was a “copycat” of the alleged action plan in the document.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court yesterday, hearing arguments in a plea by Disha against the “leaking” of her WhatsApp chats, allegedly by police, to the media, directed the police to abide by Home Ministry guidelines and not “rush to the press with half-baked, speculative or unconfirmed information about ongoing investigations”.

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