In a major setback to the Modi administration and the fans of Narendra Modi worldwide, 22-year-old Disha Ravi, dubbed as ‘domestic terrorist’ by her political enemies, was granted bail by a Delhi court on Tuesday that, according to some BJP supporters on the social media, could spell disaster for the nation.
Ravi, a self-proclaimed climate activist who joined hands with young Greta Thunberg of Sweden in her crusade against climate change and global warming, was arrested ten days ago on February 13 on charges of sedition and conspiring against India when she was found to have edited two lines of a shared Google Docs kind of document publicized as ‘toolkit’ – apparently someone's idea of an insurrection or military attack on the country.
The activist, who has been the target of millions of attacks on the social media with many making direct threat to her while Modi supporters hurling insults at her with all sorts of derogatory names including terrorist, seditionist, a morally corrupt woman, a Christian, among others, was granted bail after she posted two bonds of Rs. 1 lakh each.
Enraged by the way she was treated by the Delhi police and later by her fellow Indians on the social media, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana scolded the authorities for arresting her and said, "considering scanty and sketchy evidence on record, I do not find any palpable reason to breach rule of bail for a 22-year-old girl who has absolutely no criminal antecedent," adding "sedition cannot be invoked to minister to wounded vanity of the government".
In a dressing down of the authorities that is very rare in the Indian judicial system, Judge Rana went on, "Even our founding fathers accorded due respect to 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."
The judge also issued severe reprimand to the Delhi police saying sharing toolkit with Greta Thunberg did not amount to conspiracy against the country.
Dismissing allegations of conspiring with the Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF), a Canadian outfit that claims to fight for social justice worldwide, Judge Rana threw out arguments by the Delhi police that Ravi had conspired with it in order to create chaos in the farmers’ movement in Punjab.
"... in the absence of any evidence (that) the accused shared a common purpose to cause violence (on January 26) with the founders of PJF, it cannot be presumed by resorting to surmises or conjectures that she also supported secessionist tendencies," he said adding there is not even an iota of evidence brought to his notice connecting Ravi to the violence in Delhi on January 26, India’s Republic Day.
Meanwhile, another 23-year old activist from Punjab's Muktsar district, Nodeep Kaur, a labor rights activist, fights to get a bail after Haryana police arrested her in Sonipat on January 12 for 'inciting riots'.
She remains incarcerated in Karnal jail in Haryana.