NEW DELHI (INDIA) – Legal documents filed by lawyers for a 22-year-old Indian activist who was charged with sedition state that she was arrested illegally in southern India and produced at a New Delhi court without prior notice to her family or counsel.
Sedition can be punished with a life sentence and Ravi’s arrest has kicked off a fire storm of criticism against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for using heavy-handed tactics to counter the farmers’ agitation.
Disha Ravi, an environmental activist who is part of an organisation founded by climate change crusader Greta Thunberg, was arrested at her home in the southern city of Bengaluru. She is currently in police custody. Her next court appearance is on Friday.
“The police did not obtain any transit remand, nor did they permit the petitioner to consult with a lawyer,” a petition by Ravi’s lawyers filed at a Delhi court on Thursday said, referring to legal permission required to move an accused from one location to another.
She was produced at a New Delhi court on Sunday that remanded her to police custody.
Delhi Police has alleged that a document authored by Ravi and two others, with the backing of supporters of a separatist group, contained plans for widening the protests and fomenting violence. The police have said the document was shared with Thunberg, who has voiced support for the farmers’ protests.
“Surprisingly, there was significant media coverage of the petitioner’s remand hearing and the media seemed to have more knowledge about the time and venue of the petitioner’s production than her lawyers,” it said.
A Delhi Police spokesman said they were waiting for instructions from the court to reply to the allegations levelled by Ravi’s lawyers.