Disha Ravi, a 22-year-old climate activist, was on Sunday remanded in custody of the Delhi police for five days after she was arrested from Bengaluru for allegedly sharing with Greta Thunberg a “toolkit” related to the farmers’ protests .
Ms. Ravi was brought to Delhi where she was formally arrested on Sunday and produced before a magistrate at the Patiala House Courts complex.
The public prosecutor claimed that the “toolkit” was created as part of a plan to revive pro-Khalistan groups in the country.
Police said Ms. Ravi had edited the “toolkit” on February 3. The prosecutor added that a mobile phone was recovered from her but she had deleted all the data from it.
In her defence, Ms. Ravi said she had just edited two lines in the toolkit and that she was in support of the farmers and was influenced by their protests as farmers provide food.
In the court room, when the magistrate ordered five-days remand, Ms Ravi broke down but remained silent as police took her away from the court.
According to the Delhi police, the activist is an Editor of the “Toolkit Google Doc” and was a key conspirator in the document’s formulation and dissemination. It alleged that she started a WhatsApp Group to make the Toolkit doc in collaboration with a pro-Khalistani organisation Poetic Justice Foundation to spread disaffection against the Indian state.
“She was the one who shared the Toolkit Doc with Greta Thunberg and later asked Greta to remove the main Doc after its incriminating details accidentally got into public domain,” the Delhi police alleged.
According to the Delhi Police, Ms. Ravi received support from various members of civil society as well.
Responding to the police actions, the Coalition for Environmental Justice in India in a statement signed by “concerned civil society activists and citizens”, said the young environmental activist is the latest victim of the Centre’s continuing efforts to deligitimise the ongoing farmers protest and the nationwide solidarity it has generated.
“The act of criminalising young people for extending solidarity to a struggle that resonates with their own aspirations for a healthy and secure future, strikes as a new low,” the statement said. The signatories demanded that Disha be immediately released and assisted to get back home to resume her life.
Expressing his solidarity with environment activist, former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “Completely atrocious! This is unwarranted harassment and intimidation. I express my full solidarity with Disha Ravi”.
On February 4, the Delhi police cyber cell registered an FIR to investigate an “international conspiracy” to defame the country. The FIR was registered under section 124A (Sedition), 153 (Wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 153 A (Promoting enmity between different groups) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy).
A Delhi police officer said Ms Ravi was the founder of a group named Fridays For Future and is a graduate, with a degree in Bachelor of Business Administration. The officer added that they had written to Google to get details of people who uploaded the toolkit on Google.