AISA, NSUI hold protests demanding climate activist Disha Ravi's release, hit out at Centre's 'anti-democracy campaign'
Delhi Police had said that Ravi, along with Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk, created the toolkit that was shared with others to tarnish India's image
Activists of the National Students' Union of India, the student's wing of the Congress, staged a demonstration in Bengaluru on Tuesday against the arrest of city-based environment activist Disha Ravi in the 'toolkit' case. They raised slogans and demanded her release.
The Left-wing All India Students' Association had on Monday staged a similar protest, holding placards, wearing black masks and chanting "Free Disha Ravi". Their placards read, "Standing for Farmers is not sedition", and "When injustice becomes law, Resistance becomes duty". The protest was held at the Delhi Police headquarters, where members of AISA from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi University, and Ambedkar University Delhi raised slogans for the immediate release of Ravi and accused the BJP of running a "brutal anti-democracy campaign".
Ravi was arrested from Bengaluru on Saturday by the Delhi Police for allegedly creating and sharing a protest toolkit backing the farmers' agitation against the Centre's new farm laws. The Delhi Police had said on Monday that Ravi along with Mumbai lawyer Nikita Jacob and Pune engineer Shantanu Muluk created the toolkit that was shared with others to tarnish India's image and collaborated with pro-Khalistani elements.
"The youth is the future of India. Assertive young voices like Disha make the democratic fabric of our country and BJP's all-out attack on us won't last," Prasenjeet Kumar, national working general secretary of AISA, said.
In a statement, AISA alleged that the arrest of Disha Ravi on the basis of a 'toolkit' was an "atrocious manifestation of RSS-BJP's anti-democracy agenda". The protest ended with the submission of a memorandum to the Commissioner of Police raising the demand for the immediate release of Disha Ravi, along with trade union activists Nodeep Kaur and Shiv Kumar, and the "arrested farmer leaders and political prisoners".
Rights activists in Jaipur too gathered at the Ambedkar Circle to condemn the “shameful arrests”.
In a joint statement, more than 50 academics, artists and activists voiced support for Ravi and called her arrest "disturbing, illegal in nature and an over-reaction of the State". The statement issued under the banner of 'Coalition for Environmental Justice in India' also called it an attempt to distract the public.
"It is also becoming increasingly clear that the current actions of the central government are diversionary tactics to distract people from real issues like the ever-rising cost of fuel and essential items, widespread unemployment and distress caused due to the lockdown without a plan, and the alarming state of the environment," it said.
Further, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which is leading the agitation against new farm laws demanded the release of the 21-year-old environmental activist.
"We are deeply concerned and anguished about the brazen misuse of police power by the government in its efforts to weaken the ongoing farmers' movement. We condemn the arrest of young environmental activist Disha Ravi without due procedures being followed. SKM demands her immediate unconditional release," the umbrella body of farmer unions said in a statement.
With inputs from PTI
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'Toolkit' case: Delhi court grants bail to Disha Ravi, calls evidence against climate activist 'scanty and sketchy'
The police have alleged that Ravi was the “editor” of a google doc 'toolkit', which was a guide sheet to stoke "economic, cultural, social and regional tensions" in India
'Toolkit' case: Delhi HC issues notices to news channels on Disha Ravi's plea; haven't leaked to media, says police
Ravi's petition has alleged that investigative matters have been leaked to the media and that the press briefings by the police are 'prejudicial' and 'grossly violative of her right to a fair trial and presumption of innocence'
Disha Ravi arrest: Delhi court directs police to hand over FIR copy to activist, allows her to speak with lawyer, family
Besides the FIR, the court also directed the police to provide her with the copies of the arrest memo and remand paper which was placed to seek her custodial interrogation