A Delhi Court sentenced 21-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi to five days in judicial custody after the Delhi Police alleged that she is the “editor” of the Google document (Toolkit) relating to the farmers’ protest. The toolkit was shared by Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg on her Twitter handle.
Police arrested Disha from her house in Bengaluru on Saturday night and brought her to New Delhi. Many politicians and activists condemned Disha’s arrest. The Delhi cops arrested Disha based on an FIR filed by the cybercrimes unit, making this the first arrest in the toolkit case.
On Sunday afternoon, she was presented before a Delhi Court, where the public prosecutor alleged that Disha was a part of a larger conspiracy — with links to Khalistani separatists — against the central government. The young climate activist broke down while denying the allegations and said she was not part of any conspiracy. “I was just supporting the farmers because they are our future and we all need to eat,” she said, adding that she didn’t create the toolkit and made just two edits to it.
The court sentenced her to five days in police custody, which raised several eyebrows. Senior Advocate Rebecca Mammen John criticised the Duty Magistrate’s decision to remand Disha without ensuring that a counsel represented her in the matter. Moreover, the senior advocate added that the magistrate should have waited until Disha’s counsel arrived or at least provide her with the legal aid she has a right to as per Article 22 of the Indian Constitution.
“Magistrates must take their duties of Remand seriously and ensure that the mandate of Article 22 of the constitution is scrupulously followed,” Adv John wrote on her Facebook account. “If the accused was not being represented by counsel at the time of the hearing, the magistrate should have waited till her counsel arrived or in the alternate, provided her with legal aid,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has issued non-bailable warrants against Nikita Jacob and Shantanu. Police said that the two are also involved in the toolkit case.
Who Is Disha Ravi And Why Did Delhi Police Arrest Her?
Disha is a 21-year-old graduate from Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru. She is the co-founder of ‘Fridays for Future’ campaign, which was inspired by Greta’s protest for the environment. Disha has coordinated with various climate change campaign across India and has organised climate change protests in Bengaluru. According to reports, Disha currently works as a culinary experience manager with a company that produces plant-based food.
Disha was arrested on Saturday evening in Bengaluru. According to Delhi Police, Disha is “one of the editors of the Toolkit Google Doc and a key conspirator in the document’s formulation and dissemination.” In a series of tweets, the Delhi Police said, “Disha Ravi, arrested by CyPAD Delhi Police, is an Editor of the Toolkit Google Doc and key conspirator in document's formulation and dissemination. She started WhatsApp Group and collaborated to make the Toolkit doc. She worked closely with them to draft the Doc.
“In this process, they all collaborated with pro-Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation to spread disaffection against the Indian State. She was the one who shared the Toolkit Doc with Greta Thunberg. Later, she asked Greta to remove the main Doc after its incriminating details accidentally got into the public domain. This is many times more than the 2 lines editing that she claims,” Delhi Police said.
What Is The Toolkit And Why Is Delhi Police Investigating It?
A toolkit is a document that explains the matter and contains details on action plans. Toolkits are used for protests and are legal. Even political parties use toolkits while arranging social media campaigns. During the ongoing farmers’ protest in India, teen activist Greta Thunberg shared a toolkit. According to reports, the original toolkit “exposed International propaganda to malign India”.
The original ‘toolkit’ contained urgent actions such as organising a Twitter Storm on February 4 and 5, sharing solidarity photo/video message for protesting farmers on February 5 or 6. The document also asked the public overseas to call or mail any government representatives and ask them to take action. The document also requested the overseas public to sign online petitions and take actions to divest from “monopolists and oligopolists like Adani-Ambani”. The ‘toolkit’ also urged the public organise on-ground action near the closest Indian Embassy, Media House or your local government oﬃce on February 13/14, 2020, and share pictures on social media. The original toolkit also gave instructions of activities to be done on January 26 tractor rally and days before the rally.
However, after the details of the original toolkit were revealed, Greta’s Twitter handle immediately deleted the tweet. She later posted an “updated toolkit” which says, “This is a document meant to enable anyone unfamiliar with the ongoing farmers’ protests in India to better understand the situation and make decisions on how to support the farmers based on their analysis.”
What Is Different About The ‘Updated Toolkit’?
The ‘updated toolkit’ has asked the public to tweet in support of the farmers and call or mail any overseas government representatives and ask them to take action. The new version urged the overseas public to sign online petitions and take action to divest from fossil fuel industries. In the updated toolkit, the Adani and Ambani company name is replaced with fossil fuel industries. Besides, the ‘updated toolkit’ omits all dates and instructions of activities to be done on January 26 tractor rally and days before the rally. The new toolkit also does not mention the Twitter storm, meaning that it was cancelled.
Seeing the changes made in the ‘updated toolkit’, the Indian government and right-wing supporters wasted no time in leading the Indian pushback and tweeting hashtags such as #IndiaTogether and #IndiaAgainstPropaganda. Several Union ministers and Indian celebrities tweeted the hashtag and posted identical tweets on their Twitter handles.