Nearly ten days after her arrest by the Delhi Police in the 'toolkit' case, young climate activist Disha Ravi has on Tuesday granted bail by the Delhi Court, and the development has come amid the nationwide outrage and protests that were triggered by the apprehension and Delhi Police had slapped sedition case on her by claiming that the toolkit is against the interests of India.
Delhi's Patiala House Court had granted bail for the 22-year-old climate activist against two sureties of Rs 1 lakh each. Disha Ravi was arrested by Delhi Police from her residence in Bengaluru on February 13 and she was brought to the national capital in connection to the FIR filed under the grounds of sedition against the toolkit shared by global climate activist Greta Thunberg about the ongoing farmers' protests.
Disha Ravi was charged with criminal conspiracy and sedition after the police claimed that Ravi was involved in preparing the toolkit and in the first information report, the Delhi police had mentioned that the contents of the toolkit had led to the violence that broke out in Delhi during the tractor parade organized by farmers on January 26. The violence had killed one farmer, injured many police officers, and stormed the Red Fort.
The Delhi police had launched the probe into the violence and filed a case against the toolkit. As part of their probe, the police had arrested Disha Ravi by accusing her of editing the toolkit. The police had arrested her from Bengaluru and she was produced before the court in Delhi following which she was sent into police custody for five days. Her arrest had stirred national outrage with thousands of people including activists and opposition political leaders had held protests demanding the police to release her.
However, the Delhi Police had said that the toolkit is associated with the Khalistani movement Poetic Justice Foundation, a Canada-based organization. According to reports, the toolkit is a Google document often used to organize a social media campaign or to plan protests. A toolkit contains basic information on any issue, tweet suggestion, and information on what hashtags to be used, and whom to tag on social media. These documents are regularly used by various individuals and groups, including political parties, to organize social media campaigns and organize people.
However, the police had claimed that it's not just a toolkit and it was prepared against the interests of the country, and it instigated the violence that happened on January 26. The police further stated that the toolkit was part of the Khalistani movement that is working to malign India. Disha Ravi was lodged in Delhi under the charges of criminal conspiracy. The 22-year-old climate activist had denied the allegations and she moved her bail plea to the Delhi court.
In the earlier hearing, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the Delhi Police, had opposed the bail petition of Disha and said that it was not a simple toolkit and it had preceded the violence that took place in Delhi on January 26 and the toolkit was associated with the Khalistani movement. On the other side, Disha's lawyer Siddharth Agarwal said she was highlighting the farm laws protests on a global platform.
Disha's lawyer said that she was taken to Delhi from Bengaluru without a transit remand when she was arrested and said that Disha was not part of the zoom meeting held on January 11, which was mentioned by the police that the meeting was between the Khalistani movement Poetic Justice Foundation. On Monday, the Delhi Court had sent her to one-day police custody, which ends on Tuesday.
When her bail plea came up for hearing on Tuesday, Ravi has denied the charges slapped by the police and asserted that she wanted to express solidarity with the protesting farmers. By denying that she had prepared the toolkit, she had admitted that she had done two edits to the content. The Patiala courthouse in Delhi had granted bail for Disha Ravi on the condition that she has to furnish two sureties of Rs 1 lakh each.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana, who granted bail to the young climate activist, said that the accused had absolutely no criminal antecedents. The judge said, "Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence, I do not find any palpable reason to breach the rule of bail for a 22-year-old girl who has absolutely no criminal antecedent". He further noted, "Even our founding fathers accorded due respect to the divergence of opinion by recognizing 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".
Rana added, "A citizen has the fundamental rights to use the best means of imparting and receiving communication, as long as it is permissible to have access to audiences abroad. There is not even an iota of evidence brought to my notice connecting the perpetrators of the violence on 26.01.2021 with the said PJF or the applicant/ accused".