Protests in India over arrest of climate activist

Protests in India over arrest of climate activist

Indian officials have arrested another young female activist, 21 yo Disha Ravi, because she posted a social media toolkit on how to support the farmers' protest.

"Disha Ravi, arrested by CyPAD Delhi Police, is an Editor of the Toolkit Google Doc & key conspirator in document's formulation & dissemination".

The move was quickly met with protests and criticism. She shared a document which she said was a tool kit to create and spread awareness about the farmers' complaints.

A coalition of activist groups demanded Ms Ravi's release and said it was "extremely anxious for her safety and wellbeing". A court on Sunday remanded the activist to five days in police custody.

The police commisioner said that Ravi sent the "toolkit" to Thunberg via the Telegram app, reported PTI.

Police have been cracking down on the farmers' movement, which of late has drawn global support, including from U.S. pop star Rihanna and Meena Harris, an activist and niece of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.

A lawyer for Ravi, from Bengaluru, was not immediately available for comment.

Earlier this month, they said the campaign material was aimed at waging a cultural war against the government and creating divisions among various groups in Indian society.

Numerous protesting farmers come from Punjab.

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.

This "toolkit" - which the police claims is part of a seditious conspiracy - was in fact 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. "Supporting our farmers is not a crime", tweeted Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of Delhi.

Ms Ravi is one of the leaders of the Indian arm of Ms Thunberg's Fridays for Future campaign movement.

Delhi has reacted with fury to tweets about the protests by celebrities - among them singer Rihanna and US Vice President Kamala Harris' niece Meena Harris - calling them "sensationalist".

Her arrest has been condemned in India and beyond.

India's Government said the reforms are meant to modernise India's antiquated agriculture produce markets and blame vested interests and outsiders for misleading the farmers.

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.

Another fellow 18-year old climate activist stated, "As a recent volunteer for Fridays for Future India, I have interacted with Disha only on an online platform".

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

Ravi was picked up from her house for questioning and later arrested, a senior police officer said, adding that this was the first arrest in connection with "toolkit case".

"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. India is one of the South Asian countries that are at risk of adverse climate change destruction and she has been fighting for climate justice since Day 1.

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