A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to 22-year-old climate change activist Disha Ravi who is one of the three accused in the Toolkit FIR case. The Delhi police had arrested Ravi on February 13 from her residence in Bengaluru. Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Dharmendra Rana granted her bail against two sureties of Rs 1 lakh each. Ravi broke down in tears after the court pronounced its order.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police produced Ravi before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Pankaj Sharma seeking custody for four more days. Yesterday, the court had granted them custody for one day only. However, the CMM said that Delhi police's application would be disposed off pending confirmation of the bail from ASJ Rana's court.
The Delhi court had reserved its order on Ravi's bail plea on February 20. The climate activist, who was arrested from her Bengaluru residence on February 13, has been accused of creating a toolkit to help farmers protesting the contentious farm laws.
After hearing arguments that lasted almost three hours, ASJ Rana repeatedly asked the Delhi Police if there was any incriminating evidence linking Ravi to the violence that erupted at the Red Fort on Republic day last month.
"Is there is any evidence or are we acting on the basis of surmises and conjectures?", the judge had asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju who was appearing for Delhi Police.
ASJ Rana kept probing the Delhi police while it submitted its case opposing the bail plea. "I have a bad habit, I cannot move ahead till I do not satisfy my judicial conscience," he had said. During the hearing, the judge also sought to know what a "toolkit" was, whether that in itself was incriminating and what did "targeting yoga and chai" as mentioned in the FIR meant.
"Is there anything else, More incriminating?" judge Rana had asked. "Because, I haven't found anything so far," he had said after the police had made their submissions.
Toolkit meant to instigate people to come on the streets: Delhi Police
The Delhi Police opposed bail at the outset arguing that the plea was immature. The toolkit is not as innocuous as it seems, Raju had said. It was prepared in conspiracy with the founders of Canada-based Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF) who allegedly had Khalistani links.
"It is not a simple or innocent toolkit. This is not only one individual who has been involved and they are aware of the Khalistani movement," Raju had said.
The toolkit would have to be read along with the hashtags and links it contained which was meant to "instigate people asking them to come on streets thus resulting in public disorder, Raju had added. "They (PJF) wanted to take advantage of the farmers' agitation, but needed an Indian face," Raju said. That's where Ravi came in, he added.
"In garb of farmers' protest, they wanted to carry out anti-national activities. After the toolkit got leaked in the social media, a cover-up operation was done and many parts of the toolkit were deleted. They panicked. Had they not done anything wrong, they would not have destroyed the evidences," the police submitted.
"Disha Ravi has been systematically destroying evidence the Delhi police submitted to oppose bail. That's why she asked Greta Thunberg to delete the document (the toolkit). If it was so innocuous, why did she ask Greta Thunberg to remove it? This shows there was a sinister plan behind this toolkit," Delhi police had submitted.
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg had tweeted a link to the toolkit and then deleted it earlier this month before replacing it with an "updated" one. It was Thunberg's deleted tweet that led Delhi Police to Ravi.
Not a rebel without a cause, which are environment, agriculture and the interplay between the two: Ravi to Court
She is not a rebel without a case, advocate Siddharth Agarwal submitted for Ravi. "and her cause is the environment, agriculture and the interplay between the two," he added. Ravi's history has no connection to the Khalistani movement, Agarwal added. They could only connect Ravi to Fridays for Future (a climate strike movement started by then 15-year-old Thunberg), the lawyer added. The police were not able to show how Ravi was linked to PJF or the banned organisation Sikhs for Justice.
"There is no disaffection being spread by the toolkit," said Agarwal said.
Rejecting the charge for inciting violence, Agarwal added that the toolkit asked people to join a legal march that was sanctioned by the police itself. "Police gave the permission for the march and if I call people to join the march, then can I be called seditious?" he added.
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