Activist Shantanu Muluk on Tuesday moved the Patiala House Court in Delhi seeking protection from arrest in connection with the farm protest document case, Bar and Bench reported. The anticipatory bail application will be heard by Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana on February 24.
He joined the investigation on Monday, along with co-accused advocate Nikita Jacob. They were questioned at the Delhi Police Cyber Cell office in Dwarka, according to PTI. Jacob has also been granted transit anticipatory bail.
The non-bailable warrants against Jacob and Muluk were issued after 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi was arrested in Bengaluru on February 13 for allegedly editing and circulating the document that authorities say is anti-government. The authorities call it a “toolkit” – a common term used by social activists for campaign material. It was first tweeted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in support of India’s protesting farmers on February 4.
A court in Delhi on Monday sent Ravi to one day of police custody.
The Delhi Police claimed that Muluk, Jacob and Ravi, had attended a Zoom call along with an organisation in Canada, the Poetic Justice Foundation, to chalk out the modalities related to the farmer protests against the new agricultural laws. The organisation is an advocacy group that often raises questions connected with human rights. However, the police claim it is promoting Khalistanism or Sikh separatism, a charge that the group denies.
The farm protest document
The first information report filed by the Delhi Police against creators of the campaign document claims that it has given “a call for economic warfare against India and certain Indian companies”. The FIR in connection with the campaign document has been filed on charges of sedition, promoting enmity, and criminal conspiracy.
According to the FIR, Poetic Justice Foundation “openly and deliberately shares posts on social media that tend to create disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities”.
The FIR also links the document to the violence that erupted in Delhi during the farmers’ tractor rally on January 26. It added that the farmers march turned violent because of “said instigation by elements behind this document and its toolkit”. During the rally, farmers broke through barricades and poured into the city, clashing with the police that tried to push them back with tear gas and a baton charge. One protestor was killed and over 300 police officers were injured in the chaos.