No evidence linking ‘toolkit’ to Red Fort violence during farmers’ march on Republic Day: Disha Ravi’s counsel tells court

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New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday (February 20, 2021) heard activist Disha Ravi’s bail plea in the ‘toolkit’ case where 22-year old’s counsel told the court that there is no evidence that links the document to the violence during the farmers’ march on January 26 in the national capital.

Disha Ravi‘s counsel also said that there is nobody arrested in connection with the violence at Red Fort who has said that he was inspired for the same because of the toolkit.

“We all have different opinions. You may have a problem with the farmers’ protest, I may not. If highlighting protest globally is sedition, I (Ravi) am better in jail. I (defence counsel) also support farmers. But if that’s an offence, let’s all go to jail,” activist’s defence counsel Sidharth Agarwal was quoted by PTI as saying. Agarwal also questioned the contents of the Delhi Police’s FIR.

“There is an allegation in FIR that Yoga and Chai are being targeted. Is it an offence? We are now reducing the bar that somebody can’t have a point of view different,” the defence said.

During the hearing, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana, who reserved order for February 23 on activists’ bail application, asked the prosecution how the toolkit was linked to the violence.

“Is there any evidence or we are only acting on surmises, inferences, and conjectures… How is the toolkit connected to violence? What is the evidence? What is the evidence to show the connection between conspiracy and violence?” Judge Dharmender Rana asked.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the Delhi Police, told the court that the hyperlinks in the toolkit connected people to Khalistani websites that propagate hatred towards India.

He said, “This was not just a toolkit. The real plan was to defame India and create unrest here.”

The police said that Disha Ravi was preparing the toolkit with those advocating Khalistan and alleged that the 22-year old activist deleted WhatsApp chats, emails and other evidence and was aware of legal action that she could face.

“Why did Disha Ravi cover her track and delete evidence if she did not commit wrong,” the police asked and said that this shows her guilty mind and sinister design.

The defence counsel, however, countered and said that Disha Ravi acted due to fear of being wrongly prosecuted. It said, “My part is that I sought support from Greta Thunberg, that too for farmers’ protest and not for Khalistan.”

Disha Ravi’s Defence counsel added, “A person may run for two reasons – either he is guilty or to save himself from wrong persecution. A person may have fears of the wrong prosecution, unfortunately, for this girl, her fears have come true.”

This is to be noted that Ravi was arrested by a Cyber Cell team of the Delhi Police from Bengaluru on February 13 and brought to Delhi. She has been arrested for allegedly being involved in sharing a toolkit on social media related to the ongoing farmers’ protest.

Earlier on Friday, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted extending her support to Disha Ravi and said that freedom of speech, the right to peaceful protest and assembly are non-negotiable human rights. “These must be a fundamental part of any democracy,” she said on Twitter, along with the hashtag Stand With Disha Ravi.

Thousands of farmers have been protesting on the borders of the national capital since late November 2020, against the three newly enacted agricultural laws. The farmer unions had also called a tractor rally on Republic Day in Delhi, which had turned violent when the protesters and police personnel clashed. The protestors had also entered the Red Fort and some of them even hoisted religious flags on historic monument’s domes and the flagstaff at the ramparts.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi Police released the photographs of 20 people who were allegedly involved in the January 26 violence. Police said they are scanning the videos and releasing pictures of people from them.

(With inputs from agencies)

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