‘Citizens can’t be jailed for disagreeing with state policies’: Top quotes from Disha Ravi’s bail order / Rajmohan Gandhi: Just Who Is Spoiling India's Image? A View From The US
NB: It comes as a relief for many Indians, not just that this innocent young woman has been granted bail, but that the judicial conscience is still alive, as evident in the appropriate remarks by this Additional Sessions Judge. What remains of deep concern is why and how our police has been allowed to get to this point. I recall the transfer of Justice Muralidhar almost exactly a year ago soon after he asked the Delhi Police to register cases against BJP leaders who had made hate speeches prior to the Delhi riots of 2020.
What also should cause anguish to all persons with any sense of decency, regardless of political affiliation, is the disgusting communal and misogynist trolling of this young woman; as reported in this comment in Madras Courier. If any proponents of the RSS/BJP read this, I would like them to consult their consciences and reflect on the kind of mentality reflected and being promoted by this abuse and hatred. Is this really your vision and ideal of Indian culture and tradition? Do you wish young Indian women to be at the receiving end of such vicious language, aired in public media, that too for acting - to the best of their knowledge - for the public good? Who is really giving India a 'bad image' here?
Disha is a brave environmental activist, an example to her generation. Take heart, Disha, from this 102 year-old freedom fighter and Gandhian HS Doreswamy, who was also jailed (at the age of 23), and who asks you to be strong and hold fast to your democratic convictions. And - speaking personally - as someone who has also been implicated in fabricated cases because I stood up for a just cause, I salute you and ask you not to be cowed down nor silent after this experience. It is not your activity, but rather the failure to resist climate denial, to defend the farmers' agitation, and to defend Indian democracy, that is anti-social. Bless you and keep it up. DS
Twenty-two-year-old activist Disha Ravi, who was arrested in connection with a toolkit on the farmer protests that was tweeted by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, was granted bail by a Sessions Court in Delhi on Tuesday. The court order comes as a blow to the Delhi Police, which had alleged that the activist was the “key conspirator” in the formulation and dissemination of the document and that she collaborated with pro-Khalistani group Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF) to “spread disaffection against Indian state”.
In the bail order, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana noted that the accused had “absolutely no criminal antecedents”. Ravi was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties of like amount.
* “Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence available on record, I do not find any palpable reasons to breach the general rule of ‘Bail’ against a 22-year-old young lady, with absolutely blemish-free criminal antecedents and having firm roots in the society, and send her to jail.”
* “In my considered opinion, Citizens are conscience keepers of government in any democratic Nation. They cannot be put behind the bars simply because they choose to disagree with the State policies. The offence of sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of the governments.”
* “Investigating agency can’t be permitted to further restrict the liberty of citizen on basis of propitious anticipations.”
* “Citizens are conscience keepers of government. They cannot be jailed simply because they choose to disagree with state policies.”
* The court quoted a phrase from Rig Veda to underscore respect for divergence in opinion. “This 5000-year-old civilisation of ours has never been averse to ideas from varied quarters,” the court order read.
* “Even our founding fathers accorded due respect to the divergence of opinion by recognising the freedom of speech and expression as an inviolable fundamental right. The right to dissent is firmly enshrined under Article 19 of The Constitution of India.”
* “In my considered opinion, freedom of speech and expression includes the right to seek a global audience. There are no geographical barriers to communication. A Citizen has the fundamental right to use the best means of imparting and receiving communication, as long as the same is permissible under the four corners of law and as such have access to an audience abroad.”
* “Since the link with the said toolkit or PJF has not been found to be objectionable, mere deletion of the WhatsApp chat to destroy the evidence linking her with the toolkit and PJF, also becomes meaningless.”
* “I’m also conscious of the fact that the investigation is at a nascent stage and police is in the process of collecting more evidence, however, the investigating agency made a conscious choice to arrest the applicant accused upon the strength of material so far collected and now they cannot be permitted to further restrict the liberty of a citizen on the basis of propitious anticipations.”
* “Still further, there is nothing on record to suggest that there was any call, incitement, instigation or exhortation on the part of the applicant/accused and the above said organisations and its associates to foment violence on January 26, 2021.”
* “In the absence of any evidence to the effect that the applicant/accused agree or shared a common purpose to cause violence on January 26, 2021 with the founders of PJF, it cannot be presumed by resorting to surmises or conjectures that she also supported the secessionist tendencies or the violence caused on January 26 simply because she shared a platform with people, who have gathered to oppose the legislation.”
No matter their race or country, young environmentalists are loved in the U.S. Millions of American youth see Sweden's Greta Thunberg, with whom Disha Ravi has been accused of joining hands, as a role model. The picture is probably not very different in Europe, Canada, Australia or Japan, or indeed in any other part of the world. Like it or not, 18-year-old Greta Thunberg has come to symbolize something widely nursed: concern for our planet's future.
For India's government to be seen as confining Disha Ravi behind bars for allegedly encouraging Greta Thunberg to show sympathy for protesting farmers has probably undone months of diplomatic work. Understandably, the government in New Delhi and its embassy and consulates in the U.S. have been trying for month to persuade members of the Biden administration that the Modi Government shares most of their pro-democracy values.The memory of earlier displays of Trump-Modi camaraderie had required this diplomatic toil, which will now need to be resumed all over again. The task will not be easy....
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