Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Global Outrage After India Arrests Climate Activist Over Farmer Protest Toolkit Shared by Greta Thunberg

Politics
Global Outrage After India Arrests Climate Activist Over Farmer Protest Toolkit Shared by Greta Thunberg
Activists belonging to various human rights organizations hold placards as they stage a demonstration against the arrest of the activist Disha Ravi by Delhi Police for her alleged involvement in the instigation of violence during the farmers' protest in Bangalore, India on Feb. 15, 2021. Manjunath Kiran / AFP via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Public figures within and beyond India are demanding the release of Disha Ravi, a climate campaigner accused of sedition for allegedly editing and distributing an activist "toolkit" in support of the ongoing farmers' protest that was tweeted by Fridays for Future founder Greta Thunberg.


A petition calling for Ravi's release has over 12,100 signatures. Activists, actors, politicians, and others have condemned her weekend arrest, which followed months of farmer-led demonstrations against agricultural reforms and other policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing Hindu nationalist government.

More than 50 academics, activists, and artists have released a joint statement denouncing Ravi's arrest as "disturbing," "illegal in nature," and an "over-reaction of the state," according to The Tribune, an English-language daily in North India.

Arresting the activist, in her early 20s, "is an unprecedented attack on democracy," tweeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. "Supporting our farmers is not a crime."

Indian MP P. Chidambaram, also responded on Twitter, declaring that "the Indian state must be standing on very shaky foundations if Disha Ravi, a... student of Mount Carmel college and a climate activist, has become a threat to the nation."

"India is becoming the theatre of the absurd and it is sad that the Delhi Police has become a tool of the oppressors," he added. "I strongly condemn the arrest of Disha Ravi and urge all students and youth to raise their voices to protest against the authoritarian regime."

The incident also caught the attention of American lawyer Meena Harris — the vice president's niece — who shared a Twitter thread from poet Rupi Kaur:

Delhi Police said in a series of tweets Sunday that Ravi — who co-founded a branch of the youth-led climate movement Fridays for Future in Bangalore — is a "key conspirator" in the "formulation" and "dissemination" of the toolkit. They also accused her of starting a related group on the messaging service WhatsApp.

The Guardian reports that Ravi "has now been charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy." According to the newspaper:

At a court on Sunday Ravi broke down in tears and said she had only edited two lines of the toolkit file. Police alleged in their statement they had technical evidence that Ravi's role in editing the toolkit was "many times more than the two lines editing that she claims." The court remanded Ravi to five days in police custody after police requested time to "unearth her connections with the Sikhs for Justice."

Previously, Delhi Police said the toolkit, a version of which is available on an encrypted site, "predates and indicates a copycat execution of a conspiracy behind" protests that turned violent on Jan. 26. The police added that "the call was to wage economic, social, cultural, and regional war against India."

The available toolkit, which does not advocate violence, suggests actions such as supporting Indian farmers on social media using the hashtags #FarmersProtest and #StandWithFarmers, calling and emailing government representatives, and organizing or participating in on-the-ground protests.

"Disha is a dedicated climate activist," a volunteer at the India chapter of Fridays for Future who declined to be named due to safety concerns told CNN. "It was difficult to wrap my head yesterday when I came to know about [her arrest], I was shocked."

"This leads to a lot of caution," the volunteer added. "We are asking for livable future... It is our right."

Leo Saldanha, a member of the Environment Support Group in Bengaluru, which organized the petition, told Reuters that Ravi's arrest is aimed at quashing dissent.

"This is their way of trying to scare away youngsters from raising their voice about anything," Saldanha said of the Indian government. "This sends a message to all young people out there that, you know, shut up and stay at home or this is what is going to happen to you."

Supporters of Ravi — including Indian actors Siddharth and Swara Bhasker — have turned to social media to call for her release using the hashtags #DishaRavi, #FreeDishaRavi, and #ReleaseDishaRavi.

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.

An Edith's Checkerspot butterfly in Los Padres National Forest in Southern California. Patricia Marroquin / Moment / Getty Images

Butterflies across the U.S. West are disappearing, and now researchers say the climate crisis is largely to blame.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A wildfire burns in the Hollywood hills on July 19, 2016 in Hollywood, California. AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images

California faces another "critically dry year" according to state officials, and a destructive wildfire season looms on its horizon. But in a state that welcomes innovation, water efficacy approaches and drought management could replenish California, increasingly threatened by the climate's new extremes.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Wisdom is seen with her chick in Feb. 2021 at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Jon Brack / Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge / Flickr / CC 2.0

Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.

Read More Show Less
Wind turbines in Norway. piola66 / E+ / Getty Images

By Hui Hu

Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.

Read More Show Less
Jaffa Port in Israel. theDOCK innovated the Israeli maritime space and kickstarted a boom in new technologies. Pixabay

While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.

Read More Show Less