Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg on Friday voiced support for 22-year-old Indian environment advocate Disha Ravi, who has been arrested in connection with a document related to the farmer protest.
“Freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest and assembly are non-negotiable human rights,” Thunberg tweeted. “These must be a fundamental part of any democracy. #StandWithDishaRavi.”
Thunberg tagged a post from Friday For Future India, the Indian chapter of the global movement that the Swedish climate activist began in 2018.
On February 13, the Delhi Police arrested Ravi from Bengaluru for her alleged role in editing and spreading the farm protest “toolkit” – a common term used by social activists for campaign material. The document was tweeted by Thunberg in support of India’s protesting farmers on February 4. On February 14, Ravi was brought to Delhi and sent to police custody for five days. On Friday, a court in Delhi sent Ravi to three-day judicial custody.
The Delhi Police have also issued non-bailable arrest warrants against activist Shantanu Muluk and Mumbai-based advocate Nikita Jacob in the case. However, they have both been granted transit anticipatory bail.
The first information report filed by the Delhi Police against creators of the campaign document claims that it has given “a call for economic warfare against India and certain Indian companies”. The FIR in connection with the campaign document has been filed on charges of sedition, promoting enmity, and criminal conspiracy.
The Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell also said the document was “promoting” campaign material by alleged pro-Khalistan organisation Poetic Justice Foundation. According to the FIR, it is a Canada-based organisation that “openly and deliberately shares posts on social media that tend to create disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities”.
The FIR also links the document to the violence that erupted in Delhi during the farmers’ tractor rally on January 26. It added that the farmers march turned violent because of “said instigation by elements behind this document and its toolkit”. During the rally, farmers broke through barricades and poured into the city, clashing with the police that tried to push them back with tear gas and a baton charge. One protestor was killed and over 300 police officers were injured in the chaos.