Disha Ravi, a 22-year-old climate activist, was arrested on Saturday by the cyber unit of Delhi Police in connection with Greta Thunberg farmer toolkit case. Ravi has been put in five-day remand custody.
Ravi was arrested from Bengaluru by a Cyber Cell team of the Delhi Police on Saturday for allegedly sharing with Swedish teen campaigner the “toolkit” related to the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s three farm laws. The police claimed Ravi was an editor of the “toolkit Google doc” and a “key conspirator” in the document’s formulation and dissemination.
Police also claimed she worked with ‘pro-Khalistani’ group Poetic Justice Foundation for allegedly spreading “disaffection against the Indian State”
With this, the question of what a toolkit has surfaced again.
Social media experts explain it as a guide created to raise awareness over an issue, particularly pertaining to social justice. The “toolkit” that climate activist Greta Thunberg shared says it is meant to “enable anyone unfamiliar with the ongoing farmers protests in India to better understand the situation and make decisions on how to support the farmers based on their own analysis.” It further gives a brief introduction to why the farmers have been agitating since November.
“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. On their own terms, as any democracy true to its name should facilitate,” the toolkit reads.
While the police and government have termed the “toolkit” a part of a conspiracy against India, communication specialists say this is a basic tool of any social justice campaign. “Any movement that requires public awareness uses a toolkit and it gives basic info about a subject. The Centre for Disease Control in USA did use a social media toolkit during the pandemic to raise awareness,” Asmita Ghosh, Communication specialist, said during a panel talk with India Today.
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg landed up in controversy in India over one of her tweets after she shared a Google doc with a “toolkit” that claimed to document the ongoing farmer protests against agri reforms. The 18-year-old Climate Change activist soon deleted her tweet, only to share an updated version of the toolkit later. Screenshots of her post went viral, accusing her of “international conspiracy”.
The toolkit tweeted by Thunberg sought to lay down different ways people could participate in the ongoing farmers’ protest. The first one included references to “tweet storms” on or before Republic Day, and protests around Indian missions. She deleted this version before uploading another one, saying the earlier document was “outdated”.
The Delhi Police have written to video conferencing platform Zoom seeking details of those who participated in the January 11 meeting organised allegedly by a “pro-Khalistani” group to prepare a protest “toolkit” backing the farmers’ agitation, officials said on Tuesday.
Apart from Disha Ravi, police has named Mumbai lawyer Nikita Jacob and Pune engineer Shantanu in the case. The police said they were among the around 70 people who had attended the meeting through Zoom app, days before the Republic Day violence in the national capital that left over 500 police personnel injured and one protester dead.
“The Delhi Police has written to video conferencing app Zoom seeking details of participants who attended the meeting on January 11,” the official said. On Monday, Joint Commissioner of Police (cyber) Prem Nath had alleged that the e-mail account created by Shantanu is the owner of this Google document.