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Thunberg 'Toolkit': 21-Year-Old Climate Activist Arrested, Sent to 5-day Police Custody

Disha Ravi, one of the founders of ‘Fridays for Future’, a global campaign on climate crisis, broke down and told the court she had edited only two lines and that she wanted to support the farmers' protest.
Disha Ravi

Image Courtesy: YouTube

New Delhi: Disha Ravi, 21, a climate activist, who was arrested by Delhi Police from Bengaluru on Saturday for  allegedly being involved in sharing a "toolkit" on social media related to the farmers' protest, was sent to five days police custody by a Delhi court on Sunday. The 'toolkit' was initially shared by 18-year-old global climate activist Greta Thunberg while expressing her solidarity with the farmers' protest in India.

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. 

A "toolkit" is a document created to explain any issue. It also provides information on what one needs to do to address the issue. This might include information about petitions, details about protests and mass movements.

Ravi, one of the founders of ‘Fridays For Future’ campaign in India, was arrested from her house located within Soladevanahalli police station limits in Bengaluru on Saturday, by the cyber cell team of the Delhi Police.

The Delhi Police have arrested Ravi on the basis of an FIR filed by the cyber cell of the Delhi Police on February 4 against the creators of the "toolkit" on farmers' protest under charges of sedition, criminal conspiracy and promoting hatred. This is the first arrest the Delhi police have made in the case, according to a report in NewsMinute.

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

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".

In the course on its investigations, the Delhi Police had asked Google and some social media giants to provide information about email ids, URLs and certain social media accounts related to the creators of "toolkit", which was uploaded through Google doc and shared later on Twitter, reported PTI.

The 21-year-old climate activist’ ‘Friday for Future’ campaign in India began in India in 2018 after Thunberg, then 15 years old, and some young activists sat in front of  the Swedish Parliament every school day for three weeks to protest against  the lack of action on the climate crisis, according to their website.

 “The group comprises college students and young working professionals who are working towards highlighting the climate crisis and demanding leaders to find solutions,” it says.

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, said the NewsMinute report.

On February 3, Thunberg, while expressing solidarity with the farmers’ protest against the three controversial farm laws, had shared a tweet sharing a ‘toolkit’ on how to support them. Although she deleted the tweet soon, since the dates in the toolkit mentioned tweeting in January, Thunberg posted a new tweet sharing another ‘toolkit’ with updated details.

The Delhi Police registered an FIR the following day under sections 124A, 120A and 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), saying that its preliminary probe had indicated that the “toolkit” tweeted by Thunberg was created by “pro-Khalistani organisation” named Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF) based in Canada.

In a statement, however, PJF, said: “Poetic Justice Foundation did not coordinate any protest activities occurring within India. Up to India’s Republic Day, January 26th, 2021, and beyond — whether at Red Fort in Delhi or elsewhere in the country — we were not involved in directing or fomenting any protest activity of any sort within India.”

Meanwhile, expressing outrage over the arrest of Ravi, Supreme Court advocate Karuna Nandy tweeted: “21 year old climate activist, Disha Ravi, has been arrested for sharing a social media toolkit in support of the Farmer's Protest. Disha's the daughter of a single mother. Allegations of criminality are ludicrous, to arrest in such a case more so.

The Communist party of India (Marxist) has also condemned the arrest and has demanded that she should be released immideatly.

All India Progressive Women’s Association leader, Kavita Krishnan, condemning the arrest, said the said “toolkit” was “latest flimsy pretext for a witch-hunt of activists India...”

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