Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Tuesday will hear the anticipatory bail petition filed by lawyer Nikita Jacob, who has been accused of creating a ‘toolkit’ related to farmers protest.
Jacob had been granted protection from arrest for three weeks by the Bombay High Court on 17 February. Her house was raided by the Delhi Police on February 11, after which a non-bailable warrant was issued against her.
Delhi Police is probing the toolkit case against Jacob, climate activist Disha Ravi and others.
They have accused Jacob, Disha and others of creating the toolkit and sharing it to ‘defame India across the globe on the issue of three farm laws’.
The police had earlier also claimed that Jacob has a “bigger role to play” in the case.
“Jacob was a ‘committed operator of the toolkit. She used to address it as a ‘communication package’. The police are analysing about 115 to 120 GB of data which included WhatsApp chats, e-mails, and data recovered from Jacob’s pen drive, mobile and desktop. She was using applications like Singal and Telegram for communication,” Delhi police sources were quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
In the process, the police says, Jacob and Disha were allegedly in direct touch with “pro-Khalistani elements”.
Disha gets bail
The Patiala House court had earlier last month had granted bail to Disha on furnishing a bail bond of ₹100,000 with two surety in like amount.
Additional Session Judge Dharmender Rana also noted that the accused had “absolutely no criminal antecedents.”
“Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence, I do not find any palpable reason to breach the rule of bail for a 22-year-old girl who have absolutely no criminal antecedent,” the judge said.
The sessions court also said the creation of a WhatsApp group or being editor of an innocuous “toolkit” is not an offence.
There is absolutely no link established on record between Disha Ravi and banned outfit Sikhs for Justice, it added.
Hearing her bail petition, the court had asked police if there was any evidence linking the ‘toolkit’ to violence that broke out during the farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day.
“What exactly is the evidence collected by you against his lady connecting her to the violence perpetrated on 26 January? Is there any evidence, or are we required to merely work on surmises, conjectures?” the judge asked.
Appearing for the Delhi police, additional solicitor general SV Raju replied that a conspiracy does not necessarily have to be something that can be “touched or seen”.
“The conspiracy is not that I knew a particular person and told them to commit violence, but that I created a document that I knew and intended to incite violence. The conspiracy is in the meeting of the minds,” Raju said.
When asked if there is no direct link, the ASG had iterated that the police is investigating the matter.
What is a toolkit?
According to a social media campaigner, “A toolkit is a booklet or document created to explain a cause or issue. It identifies approaches to address the issue from the grassroots level.”
What did the document say?
The Delhi police had earlier this month filed an FIR against the creators of a “toolkit” tweeted by climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg in her messages expressing support for the farmers’ protests.
The document in question had briefly explained the cause of the ongoing farmers’ protest and said that it is “meant to enable anyone unfamiliar with the ongoing farmers protests in India to better understand the situation and make decisions on how to support the farmers based on their own analysis”.
“Instead of being supported to become self-reliant and prosperous, a majority of farmers are increasingly being subjected to the control of large corporations and international institutions whose sole focus is profits, and necessarily involves increased exploitation of nature,” the document read.
“The same destructive forces that are destroying the planet are the ones taking over the lives of our country’s most populous and important demographic, subjecting them to increasing hegemony and repeating similar patterns of privatization being seen across the globe – from the Philippines to Colombia,” it added.