India arrests young activist tied to Thunberg's movement, stirring outrage

Cheryl Sanders
February 16, 2021

The document or "toolkit" - a common term used by social activists for campaign material - was first tweeted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in support of India's protesting farmers on February 4. As the public prosecutor said the Delhi police accused her of sedition, conspiracy, and waging "a war against India", Ms Ravi had to argue for herself.

The move was quickly met with protests and criticism.

Farmers have been protesting against the three agri-marketing legislations for over 80 days.

Police said they were also looking to detain two associates of Ravi in a widening probe.

After Disha Ravi has been sent to police remand for five days, sources in Delhi Police said that more arrests are likely, based on the investigation of the arrested accused. She was the one who shared the Toolkit Doc with Greta Thunberg.

Farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at three Delhi border points - Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur - for almost 80 days to press for the repeal of the three agri laws and a legal guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP).

Ms Ravi could not be reached in custody and her family was not immediately available for comment.

"The main aim of the "toolkit" was to create misinformation and disaffection against the lawfully enacted government", Delhi police official Prem Nath told reporters.

Since the age of 19, having seen her farmer grandparents' struggle with unpredictable rainfall and drought, she started to write petitions and join protests for strong climate action.

The arrest of Disha by Delhi Police has triggered widespread outrage among politicians, activists, and academics across the country who are demanding her immediate release. "After due intimation to the Mumbai Police, two laptops and one iPhone was found and several incriminating information was retrieved", Nath said. "Supporting our farmers is not a crime", tweeted Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of Delhi.

Meena Harris, the niece of US Vice-President Kamala Harris, has also tweeted in support of Ravi, so too UK Member of Parliament for Leicester East Claudia Webbe.

Thunberg had shared the "toolkit" to lend her support to the farmers' agitation against the three farm reform laws.

The data was also deleted, police said, adding that Disha's Telegram account shows many links related to the "toolkit" were removed.

Nath said the toolkit mentioned, under the head "Prior Action", programmes such as a "digital strike" through hashtags on January 26 and earlier; a "tweet storm" from January 23 onwards; "physical action" on January 26; and entry into Delhi for the Kisan Parade before returning to the capital's border.

Their parade had dissolved into unprecedented scenes of anarchy as protesters fought with police, overturned vehicles and delivered a national insult hoisting a religious flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort, a privilege reserved for India's tricolour.

The protests attracted global attention earlier this month when pop star Rihanna, Thunberg and Meena Harris tweeted their support.

"Sir Chhotu Ram is also credited for establishing the mandi system in India, and it is this system that the present farmers' movement seeks to protect and improve", the union body said in a statement.

The Delhi Police had earlier issued non-bailable warrants against Nikita Jacob and Shantanu for allegedly sharing the toolkit on social media. "That's why I'm here protesting", she said.

Other reports by iNewsToday