On Saturday, Indian police have arrested a 22-year-old climate activist for the charges of creating a guide to the current farmers’ protests that Greta Thunberg tweeted at the start of February. Before a legal hearing of five days’ time, she was remanded in prison. She was convicted of supporting Greta Thunberg to distribute a text supporting protests by farmers.
In the months-long protest outside Delhi, police picked up Disha Ravi from her home in Bengaluru and took her to Delhi for investigation over her alleged involvement in distributing the paper. A Delhi police source said that in an association with a treason case against the suspected writers of the “toolkit” on how to assist the farmers, Ms. Ravi was arrested. Treason in India bears a life imprisonment sentence. On Sunday, the court placed Ms. Ravi into detention for five days for interrogation, causing an uproar on social media and among farm unions.
“Disha Ravi’s arrest is the latest spike in India’s crackdown on freedom of expression and political opposition, as it intends to suppress the farmers’ mass protests,” said Shashi Tharoor, a parliamentary member of the main opposition Congress party. Ms. Ravi is not allowed to be contacted in detention as per the sources.
Since crowds invaded the famed Red Fort on India’s Republic Day last month, police have been cracking down on farmers’ protests focused on the suburbs of Indian Capital. Activist groups held rallies around the country against Ms. Ravi’s arrest and on Twitter, the hashtag #IndiabeingSilenced is trending.
Ms. Ravi is one of the representatives of Ms. Thunberg’s Fridays for Future campaign movement’s Indian arm. For people who wished to support the farmers, the Swedish teenager had presented a “toolkit” and said it had been made at the protests by those on the field. With pop star Rihanna and Meena Harris, niece of U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris and activist, the protests against farm reforms have attracted international support. Meena Harris took to Twitter and expressed about activists being harassed in India.
The Government of India however said that the reforms are supposed to modernize the primitive agricultural markets of India and accused outsiders of manipulating farmers.