DMK president MK Stalin on Monday condemned the arrest of activist Disha Ravi in connection with the toolkit regarding the farmer protests shared by Greta Thunberg. Alleging that the police action was based on "flimsy charges", he opined that silencing government critics through "authoritarian means" is not the rule of law. Stalin called upon the Centre to take dissent in its stride instead of taking such punitive action.
His sister and DMK women's wing secretary Kanimozhi too lambasted the Union government over this arrest. Expressing solidarity with Disha, she dubbed this as an "onslaught on freedom of expression". Moreover, she also took umbrage at the non-bailable warrants issued against Nikita Jacob and Shantanu and contended that this showed the Centre's disdain for democratic values.
Shocked by the police arrest of #DishaRavi on flimsy charges.— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) February 15, 2021
Silencing critics of the government through authoritarian means is not the rule of law.
I urge the BJP govt to desist from taking such punitive action & instead listen to the voices of dissent from young persons.
Just heard that two more warrants have been issued for the arrest of Nikita Jacob and Shantanu in the 'toolkit' controversy. The Centre continues to stifle freedom of expression, clearly showing their disdain for democratic values and dissent.#FreeDishaRavi #IndiaBeingSilenced— Kanimozhi (கனிமொழி) (@KanimozhiDMK) February 15, 2021
On February 3, Greta Thunberg stirred a row by posting a toolkit for people to contribute in the agitation against the farm laws. The 6-page document titled 'Ask India Why' consisted of detailed instructions to target the Indian government and a few Indian corporate enterprises, in the garb of the farmers' protest. After the tweet and its contents were highlighted by Republic Media Network, the environmental activist deleted it and posted an updated version of the document which is a toned-down version of the original one. However, the Delhi Police registered an FIR against the authors of the toolkit under Sections 120, 124A, 153, and 153A of the Indian Penal Code.
In connection with this, 21-year-old activist Disha Ravi was arrested by the Delhi Police on January 13 and was remanded to police custody for 5 days after being produced in front of a magistrate on Sunday. Addressing a press briefing earlier in the day, Delhi Police Cyber Cell Joint CP Prem Nath revealed that the "action plan" outlined in the toolkit was carried out in Delhi on January 26 resulting in 510 police personnel getting injured. Moreover, he alleged that Shantanu, Nikita Jacob and Disha Ravi are the creators of the toolkit.
Claiming that incriminating evidence was also found from Disha's device, he justified the action against the 21-year-old activist citing that Jacob did not cooperate with the police. Additionally, he allayed concerns about the manner of her arrest. According to the senior official, Disha, Shantanu and Nisha Jacob participated in a Zoom meeting organised by pro-Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation on January 11 to shape the modalities for the action plan on Republic Day. Meanwhile, non-bailable warrants have been issued by the court against Jacob and Shantanu who are absconding at present.