India arrests activist over protest 'toolkit' shared by Greta Thunberg

India arrests activist over protest 'toolkit' shared by Greta Thunberg
The police claim the protest guide is evidence of a conspiracy "to wage economic, social, cultural and regional war against India".
2 min read
15 February, 2021
Protesters demand the release of Ravi and other activists [Getty]
An Indian court charged a 22-year-old activist with sedition and criminal conspiracy on Sunday after she allegedly edited a protest guide shared by Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg.

Thunberg shared the "toolkit by people on the ground in India" earlier this month on Twitter, expressing her support for Indian farmers who have been protesting against agricultural reforms they say will harm their livelihoods.

Delhi police later began an investigation into the "toolkit" designed to spread awareness of the demonstrations, The Guardian reported.

The guide was evidence of a plot "to wage economic, social, cultural and regional war against India", the police claim.

Delhi authorities allege Disha Ravi, a 22-year-old environmentalist from Bangalore, is a "key conspirator" in the case.

Ravi is the co-founder of a local branch of Fridays for Future, the movement for social and environmental justice started by Thungerg. 

Police accuse her of creating a WhatsApp group that "collaborated to make the Toolkit Doc… to spread disaffection with the Indian state". The group then shared the document with Thunberg, the authorities claim.

Last week, Ravi was arrested at her home in Bangalore and remanded in the custody of the Delhi police.

In a Delhi court on Sunday, she broke down in tears and said she had only edited two lines of the "toolkit" file.

The court remanded Ravi in custody for five more days, giving the police more time to "unearth her connections with the Sikhs for Justice".

Indian environmental activists have condemned the arrest, accusing Delhi police of "witch hunt" on spurious charges.

"Delhi police's actions are all the more sinister because Disha was taken to Delhi with no disclosure about her whereabouts, not even to her parents, an action that can be termed extrajudicial abduction," the Coalition for Environmental Justice in India said in a statement.

Delhi chief minister Arwind Kejriwal also criticised the arrest, calling it "an unprecedented attack on Democracy". Kejriwal has lent support to the farmers' protests.

Thunberg and other international figures including singer Rihanna have been attacked by Indian officials and counter-protesters over their support on social media for the farmers.

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