War of words between BJP, Oppn over Disha's arrest

War of words between BJP, Oppn over Dishas arrest

New Delhi: The action taken by the Delhi Police on an FIR related to a toolkit shared by climate campaigner Greta Thunberg in support of the ongoing farmer protests has triggered a war of words between the opposition and the ruling BJP.

Accusing the government of "murdering democracy" by using force against a 21-year-old, the opposition on Monday said the voice of India cannot be silenced even as the BJP defended the action, saying a crime is a crime no matter at what age.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led the opposition offensive following the arrest of 21-year-old Disha Ravi in the case and said the country will not be silenced. "Your lips are free to speak. Say that the truth is still alive. They are scared, not the country," he said in a tweet in Hindi. "India will not be silenced," he added.

RJD leader Manoj Jha said democracy is under threat. "I am worried about democracy, as it is passing through the most difficult times," he said.

Union minister and BJP leader Gajendra Singh Shekhawat tweeted: "If age is the criteria then Param Veer Chakra Second Lt Arun Khetarpal, martyred at 21 is who I am proud of. Not some toolkit propagandists."

BJP general secretary B L Santosh tweeted: "21 year old...environment activist...student...Are these credentials for becoming a part of breaking India forces? How does she get the access for editing tool kit...? Why she is part of anti-national WhatsApp groups...? Many questions...But only one answer...21 year old."

"Bengaluru, Greta Thunberg, Vegan, sole bread winner, student, 21 year old, passionate many attempts to white wash a sin...!! Not one anarchist ready to answer the question...How 21 year old student got access to edit Toolkit," he asked.

Former Union ministers P Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh have also come out strongly against the police action in the case, accusing the government of running an authoritarian regime as it was threatened by a student.

"I strongly condemn the arrest of Disha Ravi and urge all students and youth to raise their voices to protest against the authoritarian regime," Chidambaram said.

"The Indian state must be standing on very shaky foundations if Disha Ravi, a 22 year old student of Mount Carmel college and a climate activist, has become a threat to the nation.

"A 'took kit' to support the farmers' protest is more dangerous than the intrusion by Chinese troops into Indian territory. India is becoming the theatre of the absurd and it is sad that the Delhi Police has become a tool of the oppressors," he said in a series of tweets.

Ramesh said, "Delhi Police on the rampage. After Disha Ravi, it is now the turn of another young woman, Nikita Jacob. More will no doubt follow...." "This is Tanashaahi in New India called Amit Shahi," he said.

"The arrest and the manner of arrest of green activist Disha Ravi shows clearly the intensifying Murder Of Democracy in India. But the young in India cannot be silenced. More power to them," the former environment minister added.

In a tweet in Hindi, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, "The ones with guns are afraid of an unarmed girl. The flames of courage from an unarmed girl have spread." She also used hashtags "ReleaseDishaRavi" and "IndiaBeingSilenced".

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