Arrest unacceptable, India won’t be silenced, say Oppn leaders

Arrest unacceptable, India won’t be silenced, say Oppn leaders

Accusing the government of “murdering democracy” by using force against 21-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi, the Opposition on Monday said the voice of India cannot be silenced.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led the opposition offensive, tweeting in Hindi: “Your lips are free to speak. Say that the truth is still alive. They are scared, not the country. India will not be silenced.”

In Kolkata, West Bengal CM and Trinamool Congress chief Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “Arresting anybody who is protesting against government policies is unacceptable. The BJP should first take action against its own IT cell members who are spreading fake news. Why two sets of rules?”

“If they (Central agencies) can book them (Ravi and others) and if they can take action against Twitter and Facebook, why can’t we take action against the BJP IT cell? I would like to tell the police to take up the matter immediately against those involved in this crime,” she said.

The CPI(M) condemned Ravi’s arrest and said the “paranoid” government should stop “persecution” of activists, while RJD leader Manoj Jha said, “I am worried about democracy, as it is passing through the most difficult times.”

Former Union ministers P Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh also came out strongly against the police action. “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…has become a threat to the nation.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal meanwhile said: “Arrest of 21 yr old Disha Ravi is an unprecedented attack on Democracy. Supporting our farmers is not a crime.”

In a tweet in Hindi, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, “The ones with guns are afraid of an unarmed girl. The flames of courage from an unarmed girl have spread.”

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