Indian police have charged a 22-year-old climate worker with sedition, in a document tweeted by meteorologist Greta Thunberg about ongoing protests against Indian farmers. Edited and rotated it.
Swedish climate activist Thonberg has this month backed farmers who have been protesting against agrarian reform since December, saying their livelihoods would suffer but large corporations would benefit. ۔ He shared a document which he said was a toolkit to create and spread awareness about farmers’ grievances.
The toolkit drew the attention of the Delhi Police, which launched a criminal investigation, and claimed that the document was “evidence of a conspiracy to fight an economic, social, cultural and regional war against India”.
On Saturday, police raided the Bangalore home of 22-year-old Disha Ravi, who laid the foundation stone for the future of the Bangalore branch on Friday, launching the global movement for social justice through Thunberg.
In the toolkit tweeted by Thunberg, Ravi was brought to Delhi on charges of being a “key conspirator” and was taken into the custody of the Delhi Police. Delhi Police said it had started a WhatsApp group and “collaborated with the Indian state to create a toolkit doctor to spread mistrust” and then shared it directly with Thunberg.
A 22-year-old wagon restaurant worker has now been charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy.
Ravi broke down in tears in a court on Sunday, saying he had edited only two lines of the toolkit file. Police allege in a statement that they have technical evidence that Ravi’s role in modifying the toolkit was “many times greater than the online editing he claims.” The court remanded Ravi in police custody for five days after police asked for time to “find out his relationship with the Sikhs for Justice”.
Indian environmental groups have condemned Ravi’s arrest, calling him a “witch” on “fabricated charges” and demanding his release from 10 groups.
“The actions of the Delhi Police are even more serious as Dasha’s whereabouts have not been disclosed, even to her parents. Read a statement from the Alliance for Environmental Justice.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has backed the farmers’ protest, called Ravi’s arrest “an extraordinary attack on democracy”. It is not a crime to help our farmers.
Police are conducting more raids as they search for two more suspects. Earlier this month, police said the campaign was aimed at waging a cultural war against the government and creating divisions in Indian society.
On February 5, a mob in Delhi burned the victims of Thunberg when he tweeted in support of protesting Indian farmers. Pictures of Thunberg and pop singer Rehna were well-received and banners warned that “international interference” in Indian affairs would not be tolerated.
After tweeting a “toolkit” for those who want to support farmers, Thunberg became embroiled in allegations of international criminal conspiracy against India. The document included campaign advice such as suggested hashtags and signing of petitions.
Although not named in the police case registered at the time, or in Sunday’s arrest, it was said that Thahnberg’s tweet drew the attention of Delhi Police to the existence of the toolkit. Leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the toolkit was “evidence of international plots to attack India”.
The peasant protests have been largely peaceful. However, on January 26, thousands of farmers overpowered the police and entered Delhi’s historic Red Fort complex after smashing tractors through roadblocks.
The Indian Foreign Ministry published “sensational social media hashtags and comments” this month following posts by celebrities from Thunberg and Rihanna.
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