A 21-year-old climate activist, Disha Ravi, had come under the limelight in the recent days over a toolkit on farmers’ protest that was shared by international climate activist Greta Thunberg, who said it could help the ongoing protest.
With certain pro-government Twitter handles and even Union Ministers alleging that the toolkit was proof of a global conspiracy against India, the Delhi Police on 13 February arrested Ravi from Bengaluru on charges of "sharing and spreading" the toolkit.
The Delhi Police’s statement claimed that Ravi was a "co-conspirator" in the document's formulation and "in this process" collaborated with "pro-Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation to spread disaffection against the Indian State.”
Breaking down in a Delhi court, before which she was produced on Sunday, Ravi denied being part of any conspiracy and said "I was just supporting farmers.” She added that she didn't create the toolkit, and just made two edits to it.
Ravi was sent to five-day police custody on Sunday.
Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Vivek Gupta
Who is Disha Ravi?
While the police and the government smell propaganda behind Ravi’s involvement in the farmers’ protest, the 21-year-old was reportedly inspired to join climate activism from seeing her grandparents who are farmers.
A student of Mount Carmel college, Ravi is one of the co-founders of Fridays For Future (FFF), an offshoot of the climate movement kickstarted by Thunberg that mostly comprises school children and young college students.
In an interview to Citizen Matters in 2019, she said, “The idea of not having office-bearers was so we keep the process transparent. Whoever is interested in working with a certain aspect pitches in.”
Last year, the Delhi Police cited the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to block the FFF website in India as they had launched an online campaign to protest against the Ministry of Environment’s EIA draft that dilutes the green laws.
As part of the protests, thousands of young volunteers, a lot of whom were school-going children, bombarded Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar with emails asking him to withdraw the draft. Later, the Delhi Police withdrew its notice.
Because of her active participation in climate activism that arises from her concerns about the visible climate crisis that India and other countries are going through currently, Ravi has been featured in a few international articles as well.
In a Vogue article on climate activists of colour, Ravi was quoted as saying, "The fact that you would choose to listen to a white person on the same issue rather than a person of colour, to me, is environmental racism."
Ravi has also written climate editorials and is currently working at Good Mylk, a company that produces plant-based food.