Disha Ravi charged with sedition for allegedly setting up an online toolkit to help protesting farmers in India.
A Delhi court upheld a police request to extend the detention of climate activist Disha Ravi whom they accuse of sedition for her alleged role in creating an online toolkit to help farmers who protest against reforms in India.
Ravi, 22, who is part of an organization founded by Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg, appeared in court on Friday after her arrest in Bangalore last weekend in a case that raised concerns about the repression of dissent.
Police allege Ravi was involved in creating and sharing an online document containing advice for protesters. Police said the document fueled the violence that took place on India’s Republic Day last month when farmers stormed the notorious Red Fort in Delhi’s old quarter.
This court returns the accused, Disha Ravi, to judicial detention for three days, said Judge Akash Jain.
Ravi did not speak herself during the hearing but denied the charges against her through her lawyer Siddharth Agarwal, arguing in court that the police had no evidence to substantiate them.
There is nothing against me, please consider this, Agarwal told the court on his behalf.
On Saturday, a Delhi court is due to hear Ravis’ request for bail.
Some senior lawyers and lawmakers have criticized the sedition case, disputing police allegations that the document in question incites violence.
Human rights lawyer Colin Gonsalves told Al Jazeera that a charge of sedition carrying a life sentence should be linked to actions to overthrow the state.
She didn’t do anything like that, Gonsalves said.
The charge of sedition is bizarre, freedom of speech is not sedition.
Late Friday, Thunberg sent two tweets with a hashtag supporting Disha.
Freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest and assembly are non-negotiable human rights. These must be a fundamental element of any democracy. #StandWithDishaRavi, Thunberg said in one of his tweets.
Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) February 19, 2021
Environmentalist Vimlendu Jha told Al Jazeera that the Google document is perceived by police as nuclear code of sorts when it is simply a document that tells people which hashtag to use and which is the problem that Indian farmers are really facing.
Prime Minister Narendra Modis’ government has tried to get farmers to quit their months-long protest on the outskirts of New Delhi against three new laws aimed at deregulating the large and outdated farm produce market.
He proposed to put the laws on hold and water down some provisions.
But farmers want Modi to completely repeal the laws and provide legal support for minimum price support for their produce.
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