Disha’s arrest shows dissent being strangled in name of sedition: Kamal

MNM chief tells students not to be daunted by such incidents and continue their struggle against an authoritarian regime

Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, MNM founder, Makkal Needhi Maiam, politics, Tamil Nadu, CM Edappadi K Palaniswami, AIADMK, comments
Haasan called Disha's arrest a British-era atrocity to threaten students who raise their voices for public good. . Photo: PTI.

Actor turned politician and MNM chief Kamal Haasan is among the latest of celebrities to condemn the arrest of 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi in the toolkit case. In a stinging tweet, Haasan on Tuesday said that it Disha’s arrest shows a return of the colonial times when clampdowns on dissent was a common practise by the British.

“It is shocking that a college student environmental activist Disha Ravi has been arrested. To strangle dissent in the name of sedition is against the principles of freedom of expression guaranteed by democracy,” the actor-politician tweeted in Tamil.

“It is a British-era atrocity to threaten students who raise their voices for public good. It is a shame that it is still in practice. There must be a general debate on this threatening law,” he said.

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In a series of tweets, Haasan said students despite such atrocities imposed on them should not bow down to oppressive measures and instead raise their voices against such authoritarianism.

Disha on Saturday was arrested by Delhi police from Bengaluru and flown to Delhi. She has been charged of sharing a toolkit on the farmers’ protest, which was shared on Twitter by teen climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Her arrest sparked widespread outrage from politicians from across the country, with many questioning her custodial detention despite no criminal records.

Taking cognizance of the matter Swati Maliwal, the chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women has sent a notice to Delhi police, asking for a copy of the FIR filed against Disha and asking if rules were violated during her arrest and why the 22-year-old was not given a lawyer of her choice during the first hearing.

In his response to the criticisms on Disha’s alleged illegal arrest, Delhi Police commissioner SN Shrivastava on Tuesday said all procedures under law were followed during her arrest and that the law “does not differentiate between a 22-year-old and a 50-year-old”.

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