Delhi Police to Probe Farmer Protests ‘Toolkit’ Shared by Thunberg
Delhi Police alleged that the ‘toolkit’ in question was “linked to a pro-Khalistani group”.
The Delhi Police on Thursday, 4 February, said that they will be probing the ‘toolkit’ on farmer protests in India shared by Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter as she announced her support to the agitation.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, after filing an FIR against the creators of the document, the Delhi Police alleged that the ‘toolkit’ in question was “allegedly linked to a pro-Khalistani group”. It also said that it was evidence of a conspiracy that led to the violence in Delhi on Republic Day amid the farmer’s planned tractor march.
WHAT HAD GRETA THUNBERG TWEETED?
Thunberg on Tuesday, 2 February, had tweeted in support of the farmers’ protest in India, soon after singer-actor Rihanna’s post on the agitation went viral.
"We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India," tweeted Thunberg, along with a link to a story on the internet shutdown imposed around Delhi. Earlier, Rihanna, too, shared the same story, saying, "Why aren't we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest".
In another tweet on the same thread, Thunberg had shared a toolkit to help people show support for the protests. Later, she deleted her tweet and shared an updated toolkit, saying that the previous one had been removed ‘as it was outdated.’
On Thursday, soon after reports of an FIR being filed against her emerged, Thunberg took to Twitter to write that she would still support the farmers’ ‘peaceful protest’ regardless of hate and threats.
WHAT DID THE DELHI POLICE SAY?
Delhi Police Special Commissioner Praveer Ranjan on Thursday said that they are investigating an ‘overseas conspiracy’ around the farmers’ protests and have not named anyone, including 18-year-old Greta Thunberg, but have filed a case against the creators of the toolkit for its alleged links to a pro-Khalistani group called Poetic Justice Foundation.
“In Delhi, the farmers’ protest have been going on in Delhi borders since the past many days. Delhi police is closely monitoring social media platforms,” he said, after which they identified “300+ accounts which were being misused to express sentiments against the Indian government, spreading disaffection in the name of farmers’ agitation”.
“Sections in FIR are 124 A IPC – spreading disaffection against Government of India, regarding sedition; 153 A-promoting hatred amongst various communities on social/cultural/religious grounds, same is 153 and 120 B for criminal conspiracy to give shape to such a plan,” he added.
Ranjan further said that it had warned farm leaders of a malicious campaign being planned to malign the 26 January rally, and was on the lookout for several groups wanting to create a ‘storm’ of hashtags and threads ahead of the demonstration.
“The intention of the creators of toolkit is to create disharmony among various social, religious and cultural groups, and also encourage disaffection and ill will against the government of India. It also aims at waging a social, cultural and economic war against the government,” he said.
"We have registered a case for spreading disaffection against the government of India - it's regarding sedition - and disharmony between groups on religious, social and cultural grounds, and criminal conspiracy to give shape to such a plan," he added.
WHAT IS THIS TOOLKIT?
The ‘toolkit’ is reportedly meant to familiarise someone who does not have knowledge about the farmers’ protests in India so that they can “better understand the situation and make decisions on how to support the farmers based on their own analysis”.
The toolkit gives a brief introduction to why the farmers are protesting, saying, “Instead of being supported to become self-reliant and prosperous, a majority of farmers are increasingly being subjected to the control of large corporations and international institutions whose sole focus is profits, and necessarily involves increased exploitation of nature.”
It adds, “This is not just about one country and its oppressed peoples, it's about common people across the world having the opportunity to be self-sufficient, feel secure about providing for their families, and live well.”
2. Urgent Action:
The document suggests the following actions to express solidarity to the farmers’ movement.
- Tweet your support to the Indian farmers. Use hashtag #FarmersProtest and #StandWithFarmers
- Call/Email any of your government representatives and ask them to take action. Sign online petitions and take action to divest from fossil fuel industries.
- Organise an on-ground action near the closest Indian Embassy, Media House or your local Govt. office on 13th/14th February, 2021. Share pictures on social media using the hashtag #FarmersProtest #StandWithFarmers.
The document also shared prior actions and urges people to sign petitions to show solidarity to the growing farmers’ movement. It adds, “Either find protests happening in your city/state/country and participate in large (or small) numbers or organise one. In addition to the options below, you are encouraged to organise solidarity protests either at/near Indian Embassies, near your local Govt. offices or offices. Do continue to organise gatherings as and when possible.”
The document also links the reader to Trolley Times, an initiative run by protesters to document the movement.
WHAT HAVE OTHERS SAID?
On Thursday, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar commented on the ‘toolkit’ to news agency ANI saying, “The 'Toolkit' matter is a serious one. It clearly shows that some foreign elements are conspiring to defame India.”
Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, Vijay Kumar Singh on Twitter called the toolkit a “conspiracy against India” which has been “exposed”.
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