‘Part of RSS-BJP toolkit’: Outrage on social media after 21-yr-old climate activist held in Thunberg case

Disha Ravi was arrested by Delhi Police from Bengaluru for allegedly contributing to a “toolkit” tweeted by Greta Thunberg in support of farmers’ protest, and remanded to police custody for five days

Disha Ravi (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/ @iamparmjit)
Disha Ravi (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/ @iamparmjit)

NH Web Desk

A 21-year-old climate activist has been arrested from Bengaluru for being allegedly involved in sharing the "toolkit" related to the farmer's protest on social media, police said on Sunday.

Disha Ravi was arrested by a Cyber Cell team of the Delhi Police from Bengaluru on Saturday, a senior police officer said.

An unidentified senior police officer told The Hindu that Ravi was formally arrested in Delhi and will be produced before a magistrate. The police is yet to confirm her arrest.

Earlier, the Delhi Police had asked Google and some social media giants to provide information about email id, URLs and certain social media accounts related to the creators of the "toolkit" shared by teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and others on Twitter in connection with the farmers' protest.

The Cyber Cell had lodged an FIR against "pro-Khalistan" creators of the "toolkit" for waging a "social, cultural and economic war against the Government of India".

The case against unnamed persons was registered on charges of criminal conspiracy, sedition and various other sections of the Indian Penal Code, the police said.

Addressing a press conference earlier, a senior Delhi Police officer said initial investigation linked the document with a pro-Khalistan group named "Poetic Justice Foundation".

According to the police, the "toolkit" has a particular section that mentions "digital strike through hashtags on or before January 26, tweet storms on January 23 onwards, physical action on January 26 and watch-out or join farmers march into Delhi and back to borders".

The "toolkit" was aimed at spreading disaffection and ill-will against the government of India and creating disharmony among various social, religious and cultural groups, the police had added.

A toolkit, according to a social media campaigner, “is a booklet or document created to explain a cause or issue” that helps identify “approaches to address the issue from the grassroots level”

According to The News Minute, the police have accused Ravi of contributing written material for the “toolkit”. Ravi, who graduated from Mount Carmel college in Bengaluru, is currently working as a culinary experience manager with a company that produces plant-based food.

Ravi is one of the founders of the “Fridays For Future” campaign – a global climate movement that started in August 2018, calling on politicians to listen to scientists and take urgent action against global warming.

Meanwhile, Youth based Environmental Collectives condemned Ravi’s arrest based on “false” and “clearly fabricated” charges. In a press release, the collective said that it was “actively supporting” the farmers’ protest as agriculture and environment are “deeply interlinked issues”. It said that “toolkits” are used by them as their members are “scattered far and wide and often work independently”.

“To imply that toolkits are some conspiracy gizmos used by foreign forces to destabilise India is as stupid as the ‘cow was abducted by aliens’ rubbish that was aired by the same mainstream media channels that are now airing this nonsense,” the release said. “This controversy is baseless and has no merit.”

Later in the day, a Delhi court sent the climate activist to five days’ police custody after the police sought her seven days' custody. The police said her custody was required to probe an alleged larger conspiracy against the government of India and to ascertain her alleged role relating to the ‘Khalistan’ movement.

During the hearing, Ravi broke down inside the courtroom and told the judge that she had edited only two lines and that she wanted to support the farmers' protest.

Duty Magistrate Dev Saroha allowed the Delhi Police to quiz Ravi for five days.

While seeking her custody, the police told the court that the activist had allegedly edited the "toolkit" on February 3 and many other people are involved in the matter.

It also informed the court that they have recovered the mobile phone of the activist.

Several people took to Twitter to express their outrage at the arrest of the climate activist:

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Published: 14 Feb 2021, 1:44 PM