Twenty one year old climate activist Disha Ravi was recently arrested by the Cyber Cell of Delhi Police from her home in North Bengaluru for allegedly sharing climate activist Greta Thunberg’s ‘toolkit’ related to the farmer’s protest against the Centre’s three farm laws.
A graduate from Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru, Disha is part of a climate activist group called ‘Fridays for Future’, which was started by Greta Thunberg in 2018. Disha started the India wing of Fridays For Future in 2019 and heads the climate movement in the country.
The young activist was picked up from her house for questioning and later arrested, on February 13, 2021. She has been booked for sedition, promoting enmity, and criminal conspiracy over her alleged involvement in the 'toolkit' being investigated by the Delhi Police. A court on Sunday remanded the activist to five days in police custody.
“Disha Ravi, arrested by CyPAD Delhi Police, is an Editor of the Toolkit Google Doc & key conspirator in document's formulation & dissemination. She started WhatsApp Group & collaborated to make the Toolkit doc. She worked closely with them to draft the Doc,” said the Delhi Police in a tweet.
The ‘toolkit’ essentially is a social media document with a collection of articles, social media handles, and information on the farmers’ protest, for anyone wanting to learn about the issue and spread the message.
Here, the ‘toolkit’, which the police claims is a part of a seditious conspiracy, was first tweeted by Greta Thunberg while she extended her support to the ongoing farmers' protest.
The Cyber Cell had also lodged an FIR against unnamed “pro-Khalistan” creators of the “toolkit” for waging a “social, cultural and economic war against the Government of India”.
According to media reports, a senior Delhi Police officer, while addressing a press conference earlier, said that the initial investigation linked the document with a pro-Khalistan group named “Poetic Justice Foundation”.
The Delhi Police also tweeted the same. The tweet read, “In this process, they all collaborated with pro-Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation to spread disaffection against the Indian State.”
“Later, she (Disha) asked Greta to remove the main Doc after its incriminating details accidentally got into the public domain. This is many times more than the 2 lines editing that she claims,” the Delhi Police added.
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.
Eminent lawyer Rebecca Mammen John called the situation a shocking abdication of judicial duties and expressed her disappointment at the conduct of the Duty Magistrate, Patiala House court of New Delhi, who, according to her, remanded the young woman to five days custody of Delhi police, without first ensuring that she was being represented by counsel.
In a Facebook post she wrote, "If the accused was not being represented by counsel at the time of the hearing, the magistrate should have waited till her counsel arrived or in the alternate, provided her with legal aid . Were the case diaries and the arrest memo examined? Did the magistrate ask the Special cell why she was being produced directly from Bangalore without a transit remand from Bangalore courts?"
Earlier this year, a 23-year-old Dalit labour activist Nodeep Kaur, who was a part of the farmer’s protest, was also arrested and has been kept under the police custody.
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)