A tweet by Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij – in which he says those with “seeds of anti-nationalism… should be destroyed… whether Disha Ravi or anyone else” – has been investigated and “is not subject to removal” under rules governing extreme speech online, Twitter said Monday.
Hours earlier Twitter issued a notice to Mr Vij, saying it had deleted the tweet based on a complaint from a user in Germany; the complaint was under Germany’s Network Enforcement Act – which obliges social network providers to delete unlawful content within a short timeframe.
In the screenshot shared by Mr Vij, the full tweet (in Hindi) can be seen, and translates as: “If seeds of anti nationalism have been sown in somebody’s thought process, he/she should be destroyed from roots… whether she is Disha Ravi or anyone else.”
— ANIL VIJ MINISTER HARYANA (@anilvijminister) February 15, 2021
Disha Ravi, 22, was arrested Sunday in connection with a “toolkit” – later also tweeted by teen climate activist Greta Thunberg – relating to the farmers’ protest against the new agriculture laws.
The police allege Ms Ravi was a key conspirator and, in an attempt to revive a Khalistani group, prepared and spread a document that is meant to “spread disaffection against the Indian state”.
The police have also named Nikita Jacob, a lawyer, and Shantanu Muluk, an activist, in this case. They say all three created the document and then passed it to others for editing.
Ms Ravi’s arrest triggered outrage after it emerged Delhi Police did not get permission from a local court, as is the legal precedent. It also emerged that she did not have her own lawyer when she was produced in court on charges of sedition and conspiracy and sent to five days’ police custody.
Disha Ravi, who argued her own case, told the court: “I did not make the Toolkit. We wanted to support the farmers. I edited two lines on February 3.”
Jairam Ramesh, a former minister and lawmaker for the opposition Congress party, called her arrest and detention “completely atrocious” and “unwarranted harassment and intimidation”.
The chief ministers of both Bengal and Delhi have also expressed outrage; Mamata Banerjee condemned the centre for arresting those protesting against its policies and Arvind Kejriwal called Ms Ravi’s arrest an “unprecedented attack on democracy”.
Ms Ravi’s arrest also triggered an outpouring of solidarity from prominent international figures, with American lawyer Meena Harris (niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris) and British MP Claudia Webbe among those tweeting in support.