BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Diya TV) — An Indian-American activist from Kern County, California, Riddhi Patel, is embroiled in a serious legal battle after making threats towards the Bakersfield City Council during a recent council hearing. Patel’s outburst occurred amidst discussions regarding the council’s stance on a ceasefire resolution concerning Israel and Gaza, coupled with increased security measures around government buildings due to ongoing protests.

Patel, 28, who grew up in Bakersfield and works as an economic development coordinator for a local nonprofit, faces 18 felony charges for allegedly making terrorist threats against the council members. The charges include 10 counts of threatening with the intent to terrorize public officials and eight counts of threatening specific public officials.

During the council meeting, Patel expressed her frustration at the council’s perceived lack of support for the ceasefire resolution, invoking figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus Christ in her impassioned speech. In a viral video of her remarks, she accused the council of neglecting global oppression issues, particularly in Palestine, and criticized their indifference towards enhanced security measures.

Patel’s comments, including statements such as “You guys are all horrible human beings and Jesus probably would have killed you himself,” and “I hope one day, somebody brings the guillotine and kills all of you,” sparked immediate outrage and led to her removal from the meeting by law enforcement.

The incident has drawn widespread attention, with video footage spreading rapidly on social media platforms and gaining coverage from major news outlets globally.

In response to the incident, Mayor Karen Goh condemned Patel’s statements as threats and called for her removal from the meeting. Other council members echoed Mayor Goh’s sentiments, labeling Patel’s behavior as deeply concerning and inappropriate.

Patel’s legal proceedings have garnered significant public interest, with supporters rallying behind her during her court appearance where she pleaded not guilty to all charges. A pre-preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 24, followed by a preliminary hearing on April 25.

As the case unfolds, it raises questions about free speech, public decorum, and the boundaries of political activism within civic spaces. The outcome of Patel’s legal battle will undoubtedly have broader implications for the rights of individuals to express dissenting opinions in public forums.