New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) The BJP on Monday launched an all-out counter- offensive against the opposition for its criticism of the government over the arrest of climate activist Disha Ravi, saying these parties, especially the Congress, have always stood with “anti-India” forces in their bid to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra cited the Delhi Police press conference to allege that Ravi’s arrest has totally exposed the “”nefarious conspiracies of the break India forces” to demean the integrity of India.
With critics citing Ravi’s young age besides her background of environmental activism to slam her arrest, BJP leaders, including party general secretary B L Santhosh, wondered if these were credentials for becoming a part of “breaking India forces”.
Several BJP leaders, including Union minister Prakash Javadekar, wrote about their work when they were 21, also the age of Ravi, to get back at the critics.
“At 21 we in ABVP and other colleges were debating about how to take the country forward. We were engaged in all kind of constructive, nation-building work,” Javadekar said.
He posted a group picture of his ABVP days, and noted that three of them are presently Union ministers, Prahlad Patel and Kishan Reddy besides him.
Santhosh tweeted, “21 year old, environment activist, student… Are these credentials for becoming a part of breaking India forces? How does she get the access for editing toolkit? Why she is part of anti-national WhatsApp groups? Many questions but only one answer: 21 year old,” Santhosh tweeted.
“Bengaluru, Greta Thunberg, Vegan, sole bread winner, student, 21 year old, passionate activist. so many attempts to white wash a sin! Not one anarchist ready to answer the question. How 21 year old student got access to edit Toolkit,” he added.
In a series of tweets, Santhosh also said, “as the the great drama of Toolkit unfolds many anarchists who are rallying behind Disha Ravi as 21 year old, sole bread winner, daughter of single mother, climate change activist will run for cover. WhatsApp groups, editing option, conversations will unravel many a characters”.
Another party leader and Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said if age is the criteria then Param Veer Chakra Second Lt Arun Khetarpal, martyred at 21 is who I am proud of. “Not some toolkit propagandists.”
Patra in a statement said as far as the opposition, particularly the Congress, is concerned, in its attempt to attack Modi they have “always stood with anti-India forces”, he claimed.
“Astonishingly for the opposition, Bharat Ratnas like Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar can be investigated but ‘break India forces’ should receive protection under the garb of freedom of expression.
“These parties were crying ‘arrest the perpetrators’ on 26th January, but today when they are arrested, the same Congress cries foul,”Patra said.
Attacking those accused of sedition by the police in the toolkit case, he alleged that they not only created a toolkit which perpetrated the January 26 disruption but also collided with a banned organisation “Poetic Justice Foundation” to promulgate the Khalistani design to belittle India.
Reacting to Ravi’s arrest, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the country will not be silenced.
“Your lips are free to speak. Say that the truth is still alive. They are scared, not the country. India will not be silenced,” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “arrest of 21 year old Disha Ravi is an unprecedented attack on Democracy. Supporting our farmers is not a crime” while RJD leader Manoj Jha alleged that democracy was under threat.
BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said, “a criminal is a criminal, gender and age are immaterial if not a juvenile. Just for your knowledge, Kasab was 21 when he attacked Mumbai.”
Supporting ‘farmers’ is not a crime but conspiring against India and inciting others surely is, he said.
BJP’s IT cell in-charge Amit Malviya said, the Left has been using young impressionable minds as cannon fodder for their deranged politics for a long time.
“From JNU to Jamia, AMU to Nadwa and now Disha Ravi, are all part of their sinister plot…Unfortunately they are abandoned soon after they have served their purpose,” Malviya said.