If students do not stand up in this moment, if teachers do not speak, if scientists and scholars remain silent, if the courts remain unmoved, then we must accept that there is no room in this country for the voice of youth, writes APOORVANAND.
The arrest of Disha Ravi is the boot of power crushing our collective face. It is a message to us that no one matters in this country, no one will be spared. There is no limit that this government will not overstep.
The supporters of this dispensation have tasted blood. Today Disha has been delivered to them, yesterday it was Munawwar Faruqui, tomorrow it will be someone else.
Once it has been aroused, the bloodthirsty mob has to be supplied with fresh tender meat all the time. Nothing but the most sensitive and empathetic minds will satiate it.
The responsibility of satiating the mob has been assigned to members of our society, who are products of the best universities subsidised by our taxes, those that belong to the top most administrative and police services of the country. When they qualified for these top level examinations, stories of their brilliance along with their photographs must have graced all papers. Today they are serving this government hunt for prey. They are deploying their investigative skills in hunting down fresh feed for the mobs on a daily basis.
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A few days back the bloodthirsty mob had to be content with burning Greta’s picture when it would have actually preferred to handcuff her. To satisfy its nationalist bloodlust the powers delivered Disha Ravi into their hands.
It would have to be a different universe where Greta would be a star. We keep Disha – our Greta in jail. It would have to be some other society, some other land that would appreciate people who would rise above narrow and selfish human centrism and care for the environment. Here we incarcerate them.
Look at the policemen who surrounded 21-year old Disha Ravi. Look at the journalists with their cameras chasing her, ‘Do you want to say something?’ Listen to this query trailing her, ‘Why are you crying?’ … A gang of large valiant policemen encircling Disha and driving her in multiple directions. Disha… her name means direction.
She told the court that she had merely edited two lines in the toolkit. She supported the farmers of her country. Is that a crime? And she broke down.
What a large hunt the powers in Delhi mounted! In their service, the Judiciary and the administrative machinery delivered this dangerous conspirator into the hands of the Police so that it can investigate the matter to its roots.
Delhi Police takes its role seriously. It claims to have found that it was Disha Ravi who prepared and edited the toolkit that Greta Thunberg has used to garner international support for the ongoing farmers’ movement, in her bid to destabilise India.
The police are convinced that Disha is involved in this conspiracy. So what if she has been raised by a single mother? So what if she is merely 21 years old! Are these even relevant grounds to show leniency towards a traitor who has defamed this nation and ruined its image in the eyes of the world?
Are you trying to evoke mercy in the stony nationalist heart?
It was in this same city of Bengaluru that Amulya was arrested. In that modern city feigning to be a global village. Her crime was to raise a Zindabad, Long Live slogan for all peoples of every country, be it Hindustan, Pakistan, or Bangladesh!
In this narrow-minded nation, expressing love for other lands is treason. So, Amulya was put in jail.
The establishment clamours for fresh blood. The younger the age of the captives, the deeper will be the dread in other hearts. Don’t miss the fact that most of those who have been shoved into the jails of Delhi and elsewhere in the last one year are young people below 30 years of age or thereabout.
The arrest of Disha Ravi should cause a tide of rage. This government and this police should be called out and shamed for attempting to strike terror in the brightest minds and the best hearts of this land.
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No, the need is not to eulogise Disha’s bravery. The need is to recognise that her place is not behind bars. She should be free to work for environmental freedom beyond borders and boundaries.
Each day that Disha spends in custody is a matter of shame for this nation, for its politics, for the administration and for the police who fabricate these stories of conspiracies. Shame on our inert judiciary and our mute society.
If students do not stand up in this moment, if teachers do not speak, if scientists and scholars remain silent, if the courts remain unmoved, then we must accept that there is no room in this country for the voice of youth.
My fingers tremble with rage and helplessness as I write this. It is as if a mob has climbed onto the chest of this nation and is jumping on it, guffawing like a demon. How long must we watch this spectacle like mute spectators?
Will the tears from Disha’s eyes be wasted? They could well turn into a wave of justice that washes away this oppression…
(Apporvanand teaches at the Delhi University. The views expressed are personal.)
The article was originally published in The Leaflet.