The farmer’s protest has shaken the collective conscience of the country. The debate surrounding the tweet by Rihanna and Greta Thunberg has only increased if anything. The latest controversy is that of the arrest of Disha Ravi, a Bangalore based environmental activist.
The arrest of Disha Ravi
The incident was with regard to the arrest of Dish Ravi a 21-year-old climate activist based in Bangalore. She is one of the workers in ‘Fridays for Future” collective. She has been booked under sedition (IPC Section 124A) and intent to provoke rioting (Section 153 and 153 A), and criminal conspiracy (Section 120B). She was arrested by a Special Cell of the Delhi Police and taken to Delhi.
Disha Ravi who was not represented by any lawyer claimed that “I was just supporting farmers, I supported farmers because they are our future and we all need to eat.” She also said the only link that she had to the document was that she edited two lines of it.
The Delhi Police, however, claimed that she was the ‘key conspirator’ for the formulation of the ‘Farmer’s toolkit’ which was shared by the Swedish environmental activist Great Thunberg when stating that it “indicates a copycat execution of a conspiracy behind the January 26 violence.”
The police also stated that “Disha Ravi, arrested by CyPAD unit of Delhi Police, is an Editor of the Toolkit Google Doc & key conspirator in document’s formulation & dissemination. She started WhatsApp Group & collaborated to make the Toolkit doc. She worked closely with them to draft the doc.”
The Delhi police also argued that Disha’s role in the toolkit was “many times more than the 2 lines editing that she claims” and also alleged that she was the one who asked Greta Thunberg to delete the tweet.
The Court after hearing the pleas of both the sides has been remanded for 5 days to a special cell of the Delhi Police.
The main contention raised by legal experts on the arrest was the fact that Disha was not represented by a lawyer during the course of the adjudication. The Deputy Magistrate, Patiala House court of New Delhi who heard the case was said to have violated Article 22 of the Indian Constitution by not checking whether the accused was represented by a counsel during the proceedings.
It’s also to be noted that Deputy Magistrates can only be remanded to one day of custody till the accused is produced before the Regular Magistrate. Another important protocol failure that happened was that the accused should be given an opportunity to inform layers and next of kin regarding the place of production of the arrested persons.
This was also not carried forward properly. The remand application that should be given to the accused and the effective legal representation which should be ensured was not correctly executed. Another point that was raised that the ‘toolkit’ which was the matter in hand did not incite violence of any kind but was rather a manual on how to peacefully protest. The said incident is a clear-cut violation of human rights and the protocols that are to be followed while arresting a person and producing them for the magistrate.
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