Delhi police confirmed the arrest of Disha Ravi, who is in her early 20s, in a tweet on Sunday, accusing her of being a “key conspirator in (document formulation and dissemination”).
Tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting for months against new agricultural laws that they say will ruin their livelihoods.
The toolkit instructs people to call government officials, share solidarity hashtags on social media, attend rallies, and sign petitions. It gained visibility after Thunberg tweeted a link to Feb. 4, crediting “people on earth in India.”
The move seemed to anger the Indian authorities. On the same day, Delhi police announced that they had launched a criminal investigation into the creators of the toolkit and would look to charge them with sedition, provoking or inciting a rebellion and criminal conspiracy.
“In this document, there is an action plan (there) on January 26 or above, there will be a digital strike and a tweetstorm and also physical action on January 26,” Special Commissioner Praveer Ranjan said at a news conference on February 4. . “Using this toolkit, people were informed (on how to get in and out of Delhi).”
It is not yet clear whether Ravi has been charged, what sentence she may be subjected to, or when her next hearing will be. There are no publicly available court documents on her case. CNN has reached out to Delhi police to provide more information.
“Disha is a dedicated climate activist,” said a volunteer in the India chapter of Fridays For Future, a global climate activism group founded by Thunberg. “It was difficult to pack my head yesterday when I was told about (her arrest) I was shocked.”
Volunteers refused to be named due to security concerns. “This leads to great caution,” she said. “We pray for a viable future … That’s our right.”
The protests are about three new agricultural laws that farmers say could harm their income.
Under the previous legislation, farmers had to sell their goods at auction in their state’s agricultural product market committee, where they were guaranteed to receive at least the agreed minimum price. There were restrictions on who could buy and prices were limited to essential items.
The new laws dismantled this committee structure and instead allowed farmers to sell their goods at any cost.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has argued that the reforms will modernize the agricultural industry, while giving farmers greater freedom to do things like sell directly to buyers or other states without an intermediary.
But many farmers say the changes will allow large companies to lower prices. While farmers could sell crops at higher prices if demand is there, they could conversely struggle to meet the minimum price this year where there is too much supply.
Thunberg is not the only recognizable name talking about the protests – international celebrities including singer Rihanna and NBA player Kyle Kuzma have also expressed support for the farmers.
The Indian government has busted the celebrity’s attention and sharply criticized those who express support for farmers online.
“Before rushing to comment on such matters, we would urge that the facts be established and that a proper understanding of the current issues be made,” a spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs said on February 3. hashtags and comments to Social media, especially when celebrities and others use them, are neither accurate nor responsible. “
Some activists see Ravi’s arrest as an extension of the authorities’ tough stance on those who support the protests.
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