A 22-year-old climate activist has been arrested from Bengaluru for allegedly sharing with Greta Thunberg the “toolkit” related to the farmer’s protest against the Centre’s three agri laws, police said on Sunday.
The Delhi Police claimed that Disha Ravi, who was arrested by a Cyber Cell team of the force on Saturday, was an editor of the “toolkit Google doc” and “key conspirator” in the document’s formulation and dissemination.
Police alleged that Ravi and others “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,” the Delhi Police claimed in a tweet.
Thunberg, a teen climate activist, had shared the “toolkit” to lend her support to the farmers’ agitation against the three farm reform laws. In the document, various urgent actions, including creating a Twitter storm and protesting outside Indian embassies, were listed which were needed to be taken to support the farmers’ protest. The toolkit has been cited by some critics as a “proof” of her conspiracy to fuel protests in India.
Ravi was picked up from her house for questioning and later arrested, a senior police officer said, adding that this was the first arrest in connection with “toolkit case”.
A graduate in Bachelor of Business Administration from a private college in Bengaluru, Ravi is also one of the founding members of a group named ‘Fridays For Future India’, police said. “In connection with a case regarding the investigation into the criminal conspiracy related to the toolkit document, Disha Ravi has been arrested from Bengaluru.
“She was one of the editors of the toolkit Google doc and a key conspirator in the document’s formulation and dissemination,” said Anil Mittal, Additional Public Relations Officer (Delhi Police) in a statement.
She was produced before a Delhi court here on Sunday and remanded to police custody for five days, he said, adding that further investigation is in progress. The police told the court that her custody was required to probe an alleged larger conspiracy against the Government of India and to ascertain her alleged role relating to the Khalistan movement.
During the hearing, Ravi broke down inside the courtroom and told the judge that she had edited only two lines and that she wanted to support the farmers’ protest.
Duty Magistrate Dev Saroha allowed the Delhi Police to quiz Ravi for five days.
While seeking her custody, the police also told the court that the activist had allegedly edited the “toolkit” on February 3 and many other people are involved in the matter.
Later, in a series of tweets, the Delhi Police claimed “Disha Ravi, arrested by CyPAD Delhi Police, is an editor of the toolkit Google doc & key conspirator in document’s formulation & dissemination. She started WhatsApp Group & collaborated to make the toolkit doc. She worked closely with them to draft the doc.”
In another tweet, the Delhi Police claimed, “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,” it said in another tweet.
“Later, she asked Greta to remove the main doc after its incriminating details accidentally got into public domain. This is many times more than the 2 lines editing that she claims,” the Delhi Police tweeted. Her laptop and mobile phone has also been seized for further investigation and the police are ascertaining if she was in touch with more people who were involved in the case.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is leading the farmers’ protest at Delhi’s borders, condemned Ravi’s arrest and demanded her immediate release.
The Cyber Cell had on February 4 lodged an FIR against “pro-Khalistan” creators of the “toolkit” for waging a “social, cultural and economic war against the Government of India”. According to the police, the “toolkit” has a particular section that mentions “digital strike through hashtags on or before January 26, tweet storms on January 23 onwards, physical action on January 26 and watch-out or join farmers march into Delhi and back to borders”. The “toolkit” was aimed at spreading disaffection and ill-will against the Government of India and creating disharmony among various social, religious and cultural groups, the police had said.