Mumbai/ New Delhi: Social activist cum green warrior Disha Ravi (22), who was arrested last month by the Delhi Police, which faced international embarrassment for arresting her on frivolous grounds, released her first statement on Saturday. The Delhi police and the Narendra Modi-led BJP government faced harsh criticism across the world for crackdown on dissent in India.
She was arrested by the Delhi police late in the night on February 13 from her Bengaluru home on charges of sedition. She had canvassed support for the farmers' protest.
In a statement published on her social media pages on Saturday evening, Disha Ravi said autonomy had been violated and she had been pronounced guilty by ratings-hungry news channels. "I had coerced myself into believing that the only way I would be able to live through this was by tricking myself into thinking that this wasn't happening to me - the police did not knock on my door on 13 February 2021; they did not take my phone and laptop, and arrest me," she said.
She recalled how she was not provided with a lawyer in the first hearing in court and sent to police custody in a move that had appalled legal and civil rights experts.
"As I stood in that courtroom, desperately searching for my lawyers, I came to terms with the fact that I would have to defend myself. I had no idea whether there was legal assistance available... Before I knew it, I was sent to 5 days in police custody," she said.
"It's no surprise that in the days that followed, my autonomy was violated; my photographs were splashed all over the news; my actions were pronounced guilty - not in the court of law, but on flat screens by seekers of TRPs [Television Ratings Points]. I sat there, unaware of the many abstractions made of me in order to satiate their idea of me," she said.
Disha was freed on February 23 by the court which said, "Sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of the government."