Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday condemned the arrest of 21-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi stating that supporting agitating farmers was not a crime.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) later announced that Mr. Kejriwal, in his capacity as the national convener of the party, would address kisan mahapanchayat in Meerut on February 28.
“The Aam Aadmi Party condemns the arrest of young climate activist Disha Ravi by the Delhi police in the strongest words. I wonder how a government which has a massive majority is scared of a 21-year-old climate activist. The BJP ruled-Central government sent the Delhi police to Bangalore to arrest this young activist,” party’s national spokesperson Raghav Chadha told a press conference.
“A few days ago, the Supreme Court of India gave a landmark judgment where it observed that deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one day too many. The SC made it very clear to the Central government that playing with the life and liberty of any citizen is against the law and the Constitution of India,” he said.
When former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared Emergency, many of the BJP leaders were arrested. The BJP, he said, “use their arrests as a badge of honour.” The BJP government, he alleged, seemed to be setting an “undeclared Emergency” in motion.
What the BJP was doing now, he alleged, “far more sinister, far more insidious” than what happened in 1975” even as he alleged that the BJP government was “allergic to opposition”.
“By such baseless, needless, illegal arrests, the BJP is only making the youth’s voice stronger. They’re mobilising the youth in an even stronger manner. It is evident that the Modi government’s high-handed behavior hints at traumatising the youth who have constantly spoken truth to power,” he said.
“Today, I want to ask the BJP and its leaders that when they oppose the Emergency, then how can they arrest a 21-year-old climate activist, merely for not agreeing with the three farm laws?” he said.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor, reacting to Mr. Chadha’s statement, said every nationalist felt sad to see such comments being made. “It’s pathetic to see AAP defend misguided youth like Umar Khalid to Disha Ravi. It seems the day is not far when AAP may defend Deep Sidhu or the boy who hoisted a Sikh flag atop the Red Fort,” Mr. Kapoor said.