Disha Ravi: Climate activist who became the face of India’s crackdown on dissent

TheyProtesters gathered on the streets of Bangalore, standing with students and workers. Their applause included slogans such as “Standing up for the peasants is not a coup” and “Resistance becomes a duty when injustice becomes law” and a picture of a mostly smiling young woman: Dasha Ravi, 22.

Ravi has been a familiar figure in the city’s vibrant ecological circles for the past three years, but over the weekend she became the face of the Indian government’s crackdown on dissent.

On Saturday, he was arrested from his home, which he shares with his mother in Bangalore, left for Delhi, was detained by Delhi Police without a lawyer and charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy. Applied

“The Indian government is attacking environmentalists and Disha’s arrest shows a clear, deeply alarming pattern,” said Leo Saldhana, an environmental activist in Bangalore. “The point here is to create instability and then end all differences.”

Ravi’s alleged crimes relate to a “toolkit” document linked to India’s ongoing peasant protests, which police say is evidence of a coordinated international conspiracy against India.

Since November, millions of farmers have been camping around Delhi, demanding the repeal of the three controversial farm laws amid fears that their livelihoods have been left at the mercy of private corporations. Will go Ravi, the granddaughter of the farmer, had emotionally thrown her support behind her.

He is no stranger to activity. Encouraged by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg in 2019, whose global climate protest movement Future on Friday (FFF) called on millions of schoolchildren around the world to fight the failure to cope with global warming. While doing so, Ravi co-founded and launched the India branch of the FFF Network. Strikes across the country.

He had already felt the effects of climate change on his life. The city in which he lived with his mother, who raised him as a single parent, was flooded every time the rains came, deteriorating every year, and his hometown of Bangalore is a matter of years. That the water runs out. Her grandparents, farmers, were battling global warming, droughts, crop failures and floods.

“The motivation to get involved in climate activism is to see my grandparents, who are farmers, fighting the effects of the climate crisis.” Interview In 2019. “At the time, I didn’t know they were facing a climate crisis because meteorological education doesn’t exist where I am.”

Whether he was coordinating environmental strikes, participating in lake clearing operations, conducting tree planting exercises or conducting climate action workshops, Ravi was always present, and he was involved in these matters. Known for his in-depth knowledge of She was also the family’s only minor clerk and worked in a plant-based food preparation company in addition to her activities.

“Dasha was known for being incredibly hardworking, she was totally dedicated to the environmental reasons where she would burn herself because she had a very deep attachment,” said a colleague from Bangalore, who told the authorities. “I sometimes thought he had sacrificed his well-being for his cause,” he said.

In the international press, which covered the global manifestations of the FFF movement, this was the attitude that was regularly interviewed and they were often highly critical of the policies of the government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We are not just fighting for our future, we are fighting for our present,” he told the Guardian in 2020. It benefits the people, not the pockets of our government.

دیشا راوی
دیشا راوی Photo: Facebook

Friday was already on the radar of Delhi Police for the future of India. In July 2020, when the group launched an online campaign against a proposed law to reduce environmental regulations, the group’s website was temporarily downed by the Delhi Police Cyber ​​Crime Unit.

Since September, Ravi, who has been associated with her personal family, has been obsessed with Indian farmers. Some environmental activists said they had warned him against it. Standing up for farmers risked attracting the unwelcome attention of the authorities and the government, who in recent weeks have taken an increasingly hard line on those who have spoken out against the protests, or even That they were reported.

Journalists, activists and politicians have already been charged with sedition, and police have erected barricades, barbed wire and spikes around farmers’ protest camps. In March, farmers accused of inciting violence were charged under terrorism laws and refused bail for six months.

Trouble for the narrator arose from the toolkit document, which environmentalist Thunberg tweeted as part of his message that he “stands with the farmers.” Google Mail was a compilation of information, hashtags that suggested measures, ideas and contacts for those who wanted to help farmers – a common source of organized protest movements.

Thunberg’s tweet outraged many in India who saw it as an external intervention, as protesters burned his face. The police then seized a document about you confirming that a co-ordinated conspiracy was being hatched “to fight an economic, social, cultural and regional war against India”. Police accused Ravi and two others of conspiring with terrorist organizations to produce the document and encouraged Thunberg to tweet millions of his followers.

The narrator told the court on Sunday that he had modified only two lines of the toolkit, saying there was no provocative motive behind it. “I was only supporting the farmers. I supported the farmers because they are our future and we all need food,” he said in a statement in the courtroom before being remanded for five days. What

After his arrest, there was a wave of fear in environmental circles. Colleagues were terrified of talking to the media and many WhatsApp groups used for the organization fell silent.

Ravi’s arrest sparked outrage. Former Environment Minister Jeeran Ramesh described his detention as “outright atrocities” and “unnecessary harassment and intimidation”, while a joint statement from more than 50 academics, artists and activists described the Delhi Police’s action as “unnatural”. The nature of the “and” excessive response “of the state.”

On Tuesday, a government agency, the Delhi Commission for Women, sent a notice to Delhi Police seeking more information on Ravi’s case. Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram was equally hard hit. “India is becoming a theater of ridicule,” he said.

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