Why Did FFF Led By School Students Send Emails to Javadekar?

UAPA laws were“erroneously” used against students to shut down an online movement on the environment.

Published24 Jul 2020, 03:32 PM IST
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While Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teen activist, has been celebrated worldwide for her bold movement on climate change, in India an anti-terrorism law was "erroneously" used against students to shut down an online movement on the environment.

The website for the India arm of Fridays For Future or FFF which is the international environmental movement led by Thunberg was blocked. Two notices were sent, first under UAPA on 8 July, and then under the IT Act on 12 July, to the domain hosts alleging depiction of "objectionable contents and unlawful activities or terrorist act".

And why? Because the portal was allegedly used to send a barrage of emails to environment minister Prakash Javadekar’s email address against a proposed change in the environment laws, known as the Draft Environment Impact Assessment or EIA, 2020.

Behind those emails are a bunch of school students who received the notice from the Delhi Police’s cyber crime unit, accusing them of challenging the ‘sovereignty and integrity of India’.

After word got out on social media, on 24 July, the Delhi Police claimed the UAPA charges were a "clerical error" and that the charges under the IT Act were also withdrawn. A little while after, the website also appeared to have been restored. Clerical error or not, what message does it send on censorship and muzzling dissent?

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