Not afraid of FIRs, will give reply: Hry Minister Vij on reports of police complaints on his tweet

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Chandigarh, Feb 16 (PTI) Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij on Tuesday said he was not afraid of police complaints being filed against him over his tweet on the 'toolkit' case.

His remark came after reports that a Karnataka-based group of activists had filed a complaint over his Monday Twitter post on arrested 21-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi that appeared to urge 'exterminating' those who harbour the 'seed of anti-nationalism'.

Challenging the interpretation of his tweet, the minister told reporters: 'I have said whoever harbours the seed of anti-nationalism in their mind, that has to be destroyed from the roots. Let me make it clear, it is exterminating that seed of anti-nationalism and not exterminating the person.' Ravi was arrested from Bengaluru on Saturday by the Delhi Police for allegedly creating and sharing a protest 'toolkit' backing the farmers' agitation against the Centre's new agri laws.

Vij's post had also prompted an investigation by Twitter. The tweet in Hindi could also be read as exterminating that 'seed of anti-nationalism'.

'Even Twitter investigated the tweet, they said nothing is wrong,' said Vij who had also posted a response from Twitter that read it had received a complaint over his tweet.

When asked about the police complaint reportedly filed by a Karnataka-based group of activists against his tweet, Vij said, 'I am not afraid of such complaints or FIRs. Anyone can lodge a complaint, I will give a reply.' 'Desh virodh ka beej jiske bhi deemag mein ho uska samool nash kar dena chahiye fir chahe veh # Disha Ravi ho yaan koi aur,' Vij had tweeted.

Roughly translated it reads, “Whoever harbours the seed of anti-nationalism in their mind, that has to be destroyed from the roots, be it #Disha_Ravi or anyone else.” Twitter in its post had said, “We have investigated the reported content and have found that it is not subject to removal under the Twitter Rules or German law. Accordingly, we have not taken any action as a result of this specific report.' Replying to another question, Vij said, 'Everyone has the right to protest in a democratic set up and I am not saying opposing the government's policies is a crime, but if anyone hobnobs with foreign elements against the country, that has to be stopped.' The Delhi Police had on Monday said that Ravi along with Mumbai lawyer Nikita Jacob and Pune engineer Shantanu Muluk created the toolkit and shared it with others to tarnish India's image.

Ravi had sent the toolkit to teen climate activist Greta Thunberg through the Telegram app, and also 'coaxed her to act on it', police had claimed. Non-bailable warrants have been issued against Jacob and Muluk, who are absconding.

Some opposition leaders had alleged that Vij's tweet appeared pointing to “exterminating” those who harbour the “seed of anti-nationalism”.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor too had on Monday reacted sharply to Vij's tweet. 'Surely tweets like this are far more harmful to our democracy than anything in the 'toolkit' Disha Ravi retweeted?' he said. PTI SUN ANB ANB