Rahul Gandhi accuses Modi govt of arresting people ‘for what they think’

Congress leader says nation’s character is being destroyed as people are no longer free to speak their mind

Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi visited Puducherry to kick off the Congress’ assembly election campaign amid a crisis facing the party in the Union Territory, where its government has lost the majority. | File photo: PTI

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday (February 17) accused the Modi government of going after people for thoughtcrime, a word coined by George Orwell in his dystopian novel 1984, and said people were being arrested “for what they think”.

During an interaction with students of Bharathidasan Government College for Women in Puducherry, Gandhi said the nation’s character was being destroyed as people were no longer free to speak their mind. He was referring to the arrest of young climate activist Disha Ravi in connection with the ‘toolkit’ case.

“Maybe I’ll get arrested for saying this… if you’re shutting up the nation and frightening people and not allowing them to talk, you’re destroying the nation’s character,” he said.

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Disha, 22, was arrested by the cyber crime unit of Delhi Police for allegedly sharing on social media a toolkit related to the farmers’ protests against the Centre’s contentious agricultural laws.

Also read: ‘Disha Ravi’s arrest in accordance with law’: Delhi police chief denies lapses

According to the police, it was Disha who shared the toolkit document with Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg. Disha was booked for sedition, promoting enmity and criminal conspiracy, among other offences and was produced at a city court on Sunday, after which she was sent to five days in police custody.

“Disha Ravi, arrested by CyPAD Delhi Police, is an Editor of the Toolkit Google Doc & key conspirator in document’s formulation & dissemination. She started WhatsApp Group & collaborated to make the Toolkit doc. She worked closely with them to draft the Doc,” a tweet by Delhi police read.

“In this process, they all collaborated with the pro-Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation to spread disaffection against the Indian State. She was the one who shared the Toolkit Doc with Greta Thunberg,” another tweet read.

Gandhi, the MP from Wayanad, was in Puducherry to kick off the Congress’ assembly election campaign. The visit came amid a political crisis in the Union Territory, with the Congress-led government losing majority and the lieutenant-governor being sacked by the president.

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