Arrest of Disha Ravi unprecedented attack on democracy: Leaders, Activists Demand her release

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New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday called the arrest of climate activist Disha Ravi in the toolkit document case an unprecedented attack on democracy .

The 21-year-old activist was arrested on Saturday from Bengaluru for being allegedly involved in sharing the “toolkit” related to the farmer’s protest on social media.

Arrest of 21 yr old Disha Ravi is an unprecedented attack on Democracy. Supporting our farmers is not a crime, Kejriwal tweeted.

Ravi, a graduate in Bachelor of Business Administration from a private college in Bengaluru, is also one of the founding members of a group named ‘Fridays For Future India’.

The toolkit has been cited by some critics as a “proof” of her conspiracy to fuel protests in India.

The arrest of a 22-year-old climate activist from Bengaluru, Disha Ravi, sparked widespread outrage on Sunday, with politicians, academics, activists, authors and poets among those condemning the police action over a guide to the anti-government farmer protests that was tweeted by environmentalist Greta Thunberg.

Jairam Ramesh, a former minister and lawmaker for the opposition Congress party, called her arrest and detention “completely atrocious” and “unwarranted harassment and intimidation”.

His colleagues in the Congress and those from other opposition parties also spoke out against the move.

“The question is when will those people be arrested who continue to issue a literal ‘toolkit’ to break the national and social unity of India morning and evening, giving rise to hatred and division among the masses,” Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav posted in Hindi.

A coalition of activist groups demanded Ms Ravi’s release and said it was “extremely worried for her safety and wellbeing”.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body spearheading the farmers’ protests that Disha Ravi supported, demanded her immediate release.

Condemning Ravi’s arrest, the group said she “stood in support of the farmers”. “We demand her immediate unconditional release,” it said in the statement.

The tweets also triggered an outpouring of solidarity from prominent individuals on social media, both within and outside India.

Social media platforms have become a major battleground in India with the government calling on Twitter to block hundreds of accounts that had commented on the recent farmers’ rallies opposing new agriculture laws.

Ravi was arrested on Saturday because, police alleged, she edited an online “toolkit” containing information on the protests that was put out by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg in early February on Twitter.

A police statement said Ravi, from southern Bangalore, was a “key conspirator in the document’s formulation and dissemination”.

The toolkit had basic information on the farmers’ demonstrations, as well as how to join the rallies and support the movement online.

 

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