Centre resorting to extreme steps to quell dissent: Opposition

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NEW DELHI: Senior opposition leaders deplored the arrest of 22-yearold local weather activist Disha Ravi and the non-bailable arrest warrant towards lawyer Nikita Jacob in reference to the ‘toolkit case’ linked to the farmers’ agitation. Opposition events accused the Modi authorities of resorting to extreme measures to quell dissent and silence voices of protest.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi quoted a poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz on Twitter: “India won’t be silenced.” Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted in Hindi: “Those who carry guns are now afraid of an unarmed girl, now that unarmed girl is emanating rays of courage. #ReleaseDishaRavi #IndiaBeingSilenced.”

Former atmosphere minister Jairam Ramesh tweeted: “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 tanashahi (dictatorship) in New Delhi called Amit Shah #IndianWontBeSilenced.” Former regulation minister Kapil Sibal requested: “Is the state so weak that a tweet threatens its security? Is the state so paranoid that a 22-year-old is a national security threat? Is the state so intolerant that it cannot tolerate youth standing with farmers? Is this the change Modiji wanted?” Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal termed Ravi’s arrest “an unprecedented attack on democracy” and asserted “supporting our farmers is not a crime”.

Expressing shock over Ravi’s arrest “on flimsy charges” and urging the BJP authorities to desist from such “punitive action” and as an alternative hear to the voices of dissent from children, DMK chief MK Stalin mentioned: “Silencing critics of the government through authoritarian means is not the rule of the law.”

The CPM Polit Bureau condemned the “atrocious action” towards Ravi and mentioned: “The paranoid Modi government has to forthwith end this persecution of young activists”. Lamenting that extending help to peaceable farmers had turn into a criminal offense, BSP chief Danish Ali mentioned Ravi’s arrest “will definitely weaken our democracy and send a brutal message to the world that we are not even sparing innocent activists”.

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