This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Subha. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Opinion: There’s One Message That India Sent Out To The World With Disha Ravi’s Arrest

More from Subha

Disha Ravi and all variations of her names has been the highlight of every news and social media channel in the country.

Now that angry young woman Greta Thunberg has tweeted in support of the young climate activist, the debate is sure to generate even more TRP and so dominate the newsrooms of big media houses where some poor intern would be forced to draw convoluted conclusions and connections between the Khalistani Movement, the farmers protest, a Swedish climate change activist and a young 20 – something-year-old languishing in jail for daring to help spread awareness about an issue in the international media.

image: Facebook

To Clear The Air, The Undisputed Facts Of The Case Are:

On 3rd February 2021, Greta Thunberg echoed a tweet by international pop sensation Rihanna on the farmers’ protest and expressed solidarity with them. She further shared a ‘toolkit’, a document that listed all the handles to be tagged and websites that could be referred to for more information on the topic.

Sounds innocent enough, right?

Well, the right-wing disagrees. Alarmed by the sudden international awareness of the topic, or perhaps finding a silver lining in the form of a chance to completely deviate the public’s attention away from the issue at hand, allegations of the toolkit being an anti-national document perpetrating hate against the country and misinformation about the protest along with spreading a Khalistani agenda spread like wildfire.

The Delhi Police subsequently did, what it does best, file an FIR against the makers of the document.

On February 14, 2021, Disha Ravi was arrested from her home in Bangalore. She was remanded to five-day police custody. Two days later, after a case filed by her lawyers, Disha was allowed by the court to meet her lawyers for 30 minutes every day, talk to her parents for 15 minutes, and some warm clothes and a home-cooked meal as well as given a copy of the FIR registered against her.

On February 19, after the expiry of her 5 days judicial custody, she was further remanded to a 3 days Judicial Custody.

The charges against her reportedly include Sections 124A, sedition; 153A, promoting hatred amongst various communities on social/cultural/religious grounds; and 120B, criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code. She has also been accused of having Khalistani connections and plotting to “promote disaffection against the Indian state.”

Disha Ravi spent 10 days in custody in Delhi after being detained in Bangalore. Photo: Reuters

Rules That Were Broken During The Facilitation Of The Arrest And Custody

In Sandeep Kumar vs. The State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), the Delhi High Court laid down guidelines to be followed in an interstate arrest which state that in case of an arrest made by the police in another state, the police must first inform the local police and confer with them with regard to their purpose of visit and inform them of the impending arrest. Further, the accused must be produced before the ‘nearest’ magistrate within 24 hours.

The accused has a right to consult his or her lawyer before being taken from the state. Further, a transit remand must be obtained from the magistrate after he or she has examined to the full satisfaction that arrest is legal and warranted.

The accused must be arrested by officers in full uniform, bearing all tags with clear and accurate information.

In the present case, the Bengaluru Police, far from being consulted, was not even informed of Disha’s arrest till she was on a plane to Delhi.

The police conveniently circumvented the provision of mandatorily producing Disha before the nearest magistrate by formally recording her arrest in Delhi and not in Bengaluru. The Supreme Court has however held arrest to mean ‘physical restraint put on a person as a result of an allegation or accusation that he has committed a crime’.

It is also reported that Disha was arrested by plainclothes officers who did not inform her family of the details of her arrest.

Violation Of Natural Justice?

Several renowned and senior lawyers have criticised the arrest, calling the Police’s actions unlawful. Senior Advocate Rebecca John, who was following the procedure, in a Facebook post, questioned why the Magistrate disregarded the fact that Disha Ravi did not have adequate representation while remanding her to five-day judicial custody.

John also questioned why the Magistrate did not raise questions on why Disha was brought directly to Delhi, without any kind of transit remand from Bangalore or examine her arrest memo and case diaries.

The fact that Disha Ravi did not have adequate legal representation violates the very basic principles of natural justice along with her fundamental rights and decades-long legal precedent. In a time where the integrity of the Indian Judiciary is in question, this is a worrying fact. It is being alleged that the crime branch deliberately sabotaged Disha’s legal representation by providing them misinformation about the court where Disha was produced. Similar allegations had been made in the arrests of Safoora Zargar and Munawar Faruqui.

The order of the magistrate to five-day police custody has also raised questions. According to Rule 8 of the Delhi High Court Rules, an accused should be remanded to as short police custody as possible. Geeta Luthra also expressed concern about the duration of the police remand.

This whole episode seems to be another addition to a series of recent arrests by the police in various states where the accused were booked quite often under draconian laws, without following the due process and later, upon a proper inquiry by the court, acquitted and released. Case in point the arrest, detention, violation of rights and subsequent release of Dr Kafeel Khan and  Munawar Faruqui.

It is quite clear that the magistrate failed to apply a judicial mind to the case and Disha Ravi has become a martyr to the active persecution of dissenters by the government. Though not new in the NDA regime, with the UPA government liberally misusing laws to silence dissenters, the recent rise in the cases of people being booked under draconian laws, denied basic rights is nothing if not a testament to the abuse of law the establishment is employing in order to dissuade dissent.

A very effective way to crush protest among the youth is to make their families afraid. If Greta Thunberg was an Indian, her parents would’ve relocated, changed her name and identity and banned her from social media for fear of their safety but not before she would’ve been called a terrorist and riddled with threats of assault and rape, and all her personal information doxed online, the favourite weapon of the right-wing.

The irony is, the whole chain of events is being touted as an attempt by foreign “anti-national” elements to malign India’s image in the international community. By Disha Ravi’s arrest and the manner of it, India has proven that it doesn’t need any foreign elements to malign its image, it’s domestic actors are quite adequate at the task, with a very clear and open message being sent across the world “We will crush dissent”.

Update: On February 23, Disha was granted bail after the court remarked that there was not enough evidence on record to substantiate the accusations along with making some key points with respect to the wrongful invocation of sedition in cases of dissent.

You must be to comment.

More from Subha

Similar Posts

By shakeel ahmad

By Nandini priya

By Charkha Features

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below