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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 16 February, 2021

  • 5 Min Read

Toolkit conspiracy case

Toolkit conspiracy case

Introduction

  • The police in India are using arrests and filing questionable cases as a tool of harassment.
  • The Delhi Police have outdone all of them by arresting a 22-year-old climate activist (Disha Ravi) in a case that makes the incredible allegation that a social media toolkit for organisers of protests against the farm laws amounted to sedition and incitement to riots.

Tool of harassment

  • The manner in which a Delhi Police team travelled to Bengaluru and took Disha Ravi into custody, apparently without following the guidelines laid down by the Delhi High Court on inter-State arrests.
  • Even though Ms. Ravi was produced before a duty magistrate in Delhi within the mandatory 24-hour period, there is no indication whether the Delhi Police informed the local police and if she was properly represented by counsel.
  • It appears that the main charge against her is that she edited a Google document shared among activists, including global climate change icon Greta Thunberg.
  • The toolkit, the prosecution alleges, was prepared by a pro-Khalistani outfit, and based on this, it was concluded that Ms. Ravi was working with separatists to create disaffection against India.

What is a toolkit?

  • Toolkits are common for those organising protests online, and they contain not much more than calls for protests, texts to be tweeted, hashtags to be used, and names of authorities and public functionaries whose handles can be tagged.

Conclusion

  • The government of India is more likely to attract international embarrassment and opprobrium by the indiscriminate use of police power against activists, protesters and the media.
  • The state is increasingly resorting to heavy-handed responses to issues that attract a convergence of activism, opposition political activity and adverse media scrutiny.

Way ahead

  • A government truly worried about its global image would instead seek to address the deficit in tolerance and surfeit in repression that are becoming more obvious with each passing day.

Source: TH


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