Disha Ravi arrest: petition seeks immediate release of climate change activist

‘A confident government must appreciate resilience of our youth and hold open dialogues with them across the country,’ says the petition.

Support has been pouring in for arrested 22-year-old climate change activist Disha A. Ravi in the city. She has been trending on social media and multiple petitions have condemned the arrest, pointed out procedural lapses in her arrest and have demanded her immediate release. A protest is planned for later in the day.

“India should count itself fortunate that conscientious young Indians are actively engaged with shaping their futures in the face of ecological catastrophes….The government’s heavy-handedness is clearly focused on terrorising and traumatising these brave young people for speaking truth to power, and amounts to teaching them a lesson. A confident government must appreciate this resilience of our youth and hold open dialogues with them across the country. The current actions of the Indian Government, instead, amount to gagging democracy itself,” said a petition by the city-based Environment Support Group that calls for “immediate release of Disha Ravi”.

Opposition Congress has also condemned the arrest and expressed solidarity with the activist. “Disha Ravi is an Indian patriot. Supporting farmers or environmental activism are civic virtues. Purpose of her arrest is just to instil fear in people not to raise voice,” Congress leader Krishna Byre Gowda tweeted. “This country is becoming a joke. Why is the establishment targeting kids?,” another party leader Priyank Kharge tweeted.

Outrage over MP’s tweet

Meanwhile, BJP MP from Bengaluru Central P. C. Mohan’s tweet comparing Ms. Ravi to terrorists Ajmal Kasab and Burhan Wani has drawn severe criticism in the city. “Burhan Wani was a 21-year-old. Ajmal Kasab was a 21-year-old. Age is just a number! No one is above the law. Law will take its own course. A Crime is a crime is a crime is a crime,” Mr. Mohan tweeted on Sunday night. “As a city MP Mr. Mohan must be aware of the work by the young student. It’s unbecoming of him to compare her work to convicted terrorists,” said Krushika A. V, a user on Twitter.

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