Twenty-one-year-old Disha Ravi was arrested from her north Bengaluru home on Saturday night by a Delhi police team.

Disha Ravi wearing a grey top and black pants and a mask produced in Delhi after she was arrested
news Controversy Sunday, February 14, 2021 - 15:43

Disha Ravi, the 22-year-old climate activist from Bengaluru who has been arrested over a Google document shared on farmers’ protests by international climate activist Greta Thunberg, has been sent to police custody for five days. Disha was arrested from Bengaluru on Saturday night, and Delhi police have alleged that she “edited” the Google document which was shared as a “toolkit” for the protests. 

Disha was produced before a Delhi court on Sunday afternoon, where she was remanded to police custody for five days. Disha’s arrest marks the first in the case registered by the Delhi police over this ‘toolkit.’

In court, the Public Prosecutor alleged that Disha was part of a larger conspiracy against the Indian government, with links to Khalistani separatists. Disha denied being part of any conspiracy, and that she doesn't know any such group. "I was just supporting farmers," she said, as she broke down, "I supported farmers because they are our future and we all need to eat." She added that she didn't create the toolkit, and just made two edits to it. 

In a statement, Delhi police said that Disha was “one of the Editors of the Toolkit Google Doc and a key conspirator in the document's formulation and dissemination.” Though the ‘toolkit’ shared by Greta has triggered a big row, it is to be noted that ‘toolkits’ are documents, that contain basic information on any issue, tweet suggestions and information on what hashtags to use and whom to tag on social media, and are a regular inventory while organising protests online. Various forms of toolkits are also used by social media teams of political parties as well when they need to plan a particular social media campaign. The police's contention is that in this case, the document was made with an intention to malign India.

In a series of tweets, Delhi police have said, "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 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. 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 (sic)."

Disha Ravi is a member of ‘Fridays For Future’ campaign, which was inspired by Greta Thunberg’s protest for the environment. She was arrested under the FIR filed by the cyber-crime unit of the Delhi police on February 4 against the creators of the "toolkit" on farmers' protest under charges of sedition, criminal conspiracy and promoting hatred. Currently, Disha Ravi, who graduated from Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru, is currently working as a culinary experience manager with a company that produces plant-based food. Disha was taken to New Delhi on a 6 pm flight on Saturday and her arrest was registered late at night.

Several youth-based environmental collectives have condemned her arrest, calling the charges baseless, and have demanded that she be released. 

Also read: Youth-based environmental collectives condemn Disha Ravi’s arrest in ‘toolkit’ case

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