INDIA ARRESTS 22-YEAR-OLD CLIMATE ACTIVIST FOR ALLEGED SEDITION
On February 13, 22-year-old Indian climate activist Disha Ravi was arrested at her home in Bengaluru. Ravi is the co-founder of the Bengaluru chapter of Fridays for Future, an organization created by Greta Thunberg to promote youth climate activism. Delhi authorities have accused Ravi of sedition and criminal conspiracy (Time).
Police argue that a protest document, which was allegedly authored by Ravi and shared widely on Twitter after being posted by Thunberg, contributed to violence in the ongoing Farmers’ Protest in Delhi (Reuters). The Farmers’ Protest began in late 2020 in reaction to the introduction of three new laws that make significant changes to India’s current agricultural procurement system, which many farmers feel will severely threaten their livelihoods (Fair Observer). The document in question is a “toolkit” meant to inform individuals of ways they can support the protest and includes information on suggested actions, hashtags, and potential contacts (Guardian).
The conditions around Ravi’s arrest have sparked outrage, with many arguing the police’s actions were illegal and an overreaction by the state (Washington Post). Documents filed by Ravi’s legal team state that after her arrest, Ravi was produced in a New Delhi court without any prior notice to her family or counsel (Reuters). Further, Ravi stated in her court appearance that she was not the author of the toolkit and had only edited two lines of it. Observers have claimed that Ravi’s case is the latest in an ongoing crackdown on dissent by the current Indian administration. Indian authorities have also brought sedition charges against other activists, journalists, and politicians in connection with the Farmers’ Protest in recent months (Guardian).