NEW DELHI: A few days after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s farmers’ ‘mahapanchayat’ in Rajasthan, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will address a ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut on February 28 to support the ongoing farmers’ protest against the three central agri-related laws. On the other side, the arrest of activist Disha Ravi has generated a barrage of reactions – both supporting and protesting her alleged act in the “toolkit” case.
Here are the key developments of the day:
1. AAP national convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal will address a ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ at Meerut on February 28 in support of farmers protesting the centre’s new agri laws, the party said on Monday. AAP has strongly come out in favour of the farmers protesting the new farm laws. Kejriwal has visited Delhi’s Singhu border, a major protest site, twice and expressed his support to the farmers. “AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal to address a kisan mahapanchayat in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh on February 28. Aam Aadmi Party has convened a mahapanchayat to support the demands of the protesting farmers,” AAP said in a tweet.
2. The Supreme Court-appointed committee on the new farm laws said it held consultations with eminent academicians and agri-professionals on the legislations against which farmers have been protesting at Delhi’s borders for over two months now. This is the seventh meeting the panel has held so far. The three-member committee is holding consultations with stakeholders both online and in person. In a statement, the committee said it held a detailed discussion with academicians and professionals on Monday through video conference. “In total, seven eminent academicians and professionals in the field participated through video conferencing for detailed deliberations with the committee members,” it said. The committee members requested the participants to give their views on the three farm laws. “All the participating professionals and academicians gave their detailed views and suggestions…,” the statement said.
3. Accusing the Narendra Modi-led government of insulting farmers, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the men who protect the country’s borders are sons of farmers. Addressing a “kisan panchayat” in UP’s Bijnore, the Congress leader said farmers were ridiculed in Parliament and dubbed as traitors by ministers. “The farmer who is standing on your door, his son is standing at the border of the country. The farmer whom you are insulting, his son is safeguarding the country’s border,” she said referring to the protest against the farm laws at the Delhi borders. “They were given a new name ‘aandolanjivi’ and ‘parijivi’. All of you know the meaning of ‘parijivi’. Your ministers called the farmers traitors,” she said.
4. The ongoing farmers’ protest against the three farm laws has brought a new ray of hope against injustice in the country, Maulana Sajjad Nomani has said. The spokesperson of All India Muslim Personal Law Board was speaking at the Singhu border, one of the major sites of the farmers’ agitation. “So many organisations have been, for years, trying to create awareness about the injustices in the country, and this movement has brought a new ray of hope from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. “Thanks to you and your leadership, who realised that ‘enough is enough’ and decided to raise your voices, we have been reassured that the era of darkness in the country is ending and that justice is not very far away,” Nomani said. Ever since the farmers’ agitation started in November last year, the Islamic scholar has regularly been extending his support to the movement through his YouTube channel. On Monday, he said the Muslims of the country were standing behind the farmers in their fight. “On behalf of the Muslim society, I assure you that we are all standing behind you and support you, and request you to not lose hope and continue this fight.
5. The Delhi Police alleged that climate activist Disha Ravi along with two other suspects Nikita Jacob and Shantanu created the “toolkit” document related to the farmers’ protest and shared it on social media. The police claimed Disha, who was arrested by the force on Saturday from Bengaluru, sent the “toolkit” to teen climate activist Greta Thunberg via Telegram app. Addressing a press conference, joint commissioner of police (cyber) Prem Nath claimed that Disha deleted a WhatsApp group she created to spread the “toolkit”. The Delhi Police earlier said non-bailable warrants have been issued against Jacob and Shantanu for allegedly sharing the “toolkit” on social media. Nath claimed that Nikita and Shantanu attended a zoom meeting organised by ‘pro-khalistani’ group Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF) and added that Jacob was also one of the editors of the “toolkit” document.
6. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee condemned the arrest of 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi and said the BJP government should first take action against its own IT cell which, she alleged, is spreading fake news. She also came down heavily on the BJP government at the centre for the rise in the prices of LPG and fuel. “Arresting anybody who is protesting against government policies is not unacceptable. The BJP should first take action against its own IT Cell members who are spreading fake news. Why two sets of rules?” Banerjee told a press conference. Banerjee alleged that the IT cell members of the saffron party are calling up people posing as TMC members and are maligning her party. “I have asked Kolkata police to look into it,” she said.
7. The CPM condemned the arrest of climate activist Disha Ravi over a toolkit shared on social media in support of the ongoing farmer protests and said the “paranoid” government should stop the “persecution” of activists. “Stop This Persecution. The arrest of Disha Ravi, a climate activist from Bengaluru, by the Delhi police is an atrocious action which deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms… The 22-year-old activist has been charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy on the absurd grounds that she had forwarded a ‘tool-kit’ in support of the farmers’ struggle. The paranoid Modi government has to forthwith end this persecution of young activists. The charges against Disha Ravi should be withdrawn and she has to be released from custody,” the CPM said in a statement.
8. Advocate Nikita Jacob, a suspect in a case registered by Delhi police in connection with the “toolkit” shared by climate activist Greta Thunberg over the ongoing farmers’ protest, approached the Bombay High Court seeking transit anticipatory bail. A Delhi court has issued a non-bailable warrant against Jacob and another accused in the case. Jacob’s plea seeking urgent hearing was mentioned before the Bombay High Court’s single bench of Justice PD Naik on Monday. The high court said it would hear the plea on Tuesday. Jacob in her plea sought transit anticipatory bail for a period of four weeks so that she can approach the court concerned in Delhi to apply for pre-arrest bail. The advocate in her plea said she is unaware whether she is named as an accused or witness in the case. “However, the applicant (Jacob) fears that she may be arrested due to political vendetta and media trial,” her application said. It further said the FIR registered in the case was “false and baseless” and Jacob has already cooperated with the cyber cell of the Delhi police and recorded her statement.
9. Haryana’s home minister Anil Vij said whoever harbours the seed of anti-nationalism in their mind, that has to be completely destroyed. He said two days after Disha Ravi was arrested for being allegedly involved in sharing the “toolkit” related to the farmer’s protest on social media. “Whoever harbours the seed of anti-nationalism in their mind, that has to be completely destroyed, be it #Disha_Ravi or anyone else,” the senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader said in a tweet in Hindi.
10. DMK president MK Stalin denounced the arrest of climate activist Disha Ravi by Delhi police on “flimsy charges”, saying silencing critics through “authoritarian” means is not rule of law. “Shocked by the police arrest of Disha Ravi on flimsy charges. Silencing critics of the government through authoritarian means is not the rule of law,” the top DMK leader tweeted. “I urge the BJP government to desist from taking such punitive action and instead listen to the voices of dissent from young persons,” he said.
(With agency inputs)