Explained: Who is Disha Ravi and what's the background of her arrest?

Irked by the global solidarity towards the protesting farmers, the Central government has been deploying measures to cut the chain of solidarity through its weaponry - sedition, and conspiracy, and in its bid to label the backers of the solidarity as the brains of attracting disaffection towards the country. What has come supportive to the Center's bid is the latest action of Delhi police - arresting the young climate activist for backing global activist Greta Thunberg. 

On Saturday, the Delhi police had arrested 21-year-old Disha Ravi for her alleged role in sharing a 'toolkit' on social media related to the farmers' protest. The Delhi Police had arrived in Disha's residence in North Bengaluru, arrested her, and took her back to the capital by air.  She was accused of sedition and conspiracy and the Delhi Court had later sent her to five-day police custody. Her arrest had stirred nationwide outrage as several activists and oppositions had slammed the Delhi Police for the clampdown. Disha's arrest has come days after Modi gave a new definition for FDI (Foreign Destructive Ideology) in his style of condemning the global people for intruding on India's internal matter of farmers protests. 

Who is Disha Ravi? The 21-year-old is a native of Bengaluru and a graduate of Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Mount Carmel College in the city. Besides a business graduate, Disha is one of the well-known climate activists and one of the founders of the 'Fridays for Future' campaign in India. The Fridays For Future movement began in August 2018 after then 15-year-old Greta Thunberg and other young activists sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks, to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis. The movement is filled with young students and professionals who advocate for addressing the climate crisis and urging global leaders to come forward to fix the global problem.

Disha regularly writes columns and articles in leading news portals on climate action and is a familiar name in important climate forums. In an interview in 2020, Disha said, "My motivation to join climate activism came from seeing my grandparents, who are farmers, struggle with the effects of the climate crisis". After her graduation, Disha, who also has the interest to become a chef, is currently working as a culinary experience manager with a company that produces plant-based food. 

On Saturday, a team of Delhi Police arrived at her residence in Bengaluru and arrested her in connection with a case filed against the 'toolkit' on farmers' protests that was shared by global climate activist Greta Thunberg. The police have accused Disha of sharing and spreading the toolkit and she is also been accused of contributing written material for the toolkit. She was arrested from her residence located within the limits of Soladevanahalli police station in Bengaluru. Following the arrest, the Delhi police took her to Delhi on a 6 pm flight on Saturday. 

According to reports, the Delhi Police have arrested her under the FIR filed by the cyber-crime unit of the Delhi Police on February 4 against the creators of the toolkit on farmers' protests. The FIR was filed under the charges of sedition (section 124A), criminal conspiracy (section 120A), and promoting hatred (section 153A). She was produced before the Delhi Court on Sunday following which she was remanded under five-day police custody. Her arrest and the charges slapped on her had prompted a national outrage with the Center running through the strong objections and flak from the activists and opposition parties. 

The police further accused Disha of collaborating with the pro-Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation to spread disaffection against India. What's in the toolkit that led her to face arrest? In general words, 'Toolkit' is a term activists use for a campaign information document. Greta Thunberg was one of the international faces who sent solidarity to the protesting farmers in Delhi along with international pop singer Rihanna.  On February 3, Greta tweeted, "We stand in solidarity with the farmers' protest in India". She made another tweet in the same thread that was later deleted. 

In the deleted tweet, Greta said, "Here's a toolkit if you want to help". It had elaborated how the support can be poured in for protesting farmers. However, it was later deleted and she had released a new toolkit by claiming that the deleted document was outdated. She also shared the link to the updated toolkit. The toolkit was made with the action plan for supporting farmers and to let people who are unfamiliar with the farmers' protests better understand the issue and make decisions on how to support the peasants. 

The toolkit guides about the urgent and prior actions required to support the farmers' protests. Some of the urgent actions advocated by the toolkit include storming Twitter with the hashtags #FarmersProtest #StandwithFarmers, signing online petitions, and calling and sending mail to the government representatives demanding them to take action. The toolkit had also appealed to organize an on-ground action near the closest Indian Embassy, Media House, or local government office on 13th or 14th February 2021 and share pictures on social media. 

As soon as Greta tweeted the toolkit to support the farmers, it had stirred massive debates with some claiming that the toolkit is a usual format for any protests and others voiced against Greta for creating the action plan to address what the government called India's internal matter. When the international faces sent solidarity to farmers by using the hashtags mentioned in the toolkit, India's External Affairs Ministry had issued a statement in which had prompted the circulation of hashtags #IndiaTogether and #IndiaAgainstPropaganda to counter the global faces and the notable Indian celebrities had used these hashtags to castigate the international solidarity. 

Following the toolkit, the Cyber Crime Cell of Delhi Police had on February 4 had filed an FIR against the creators of the toolkit accusing them of waging a social, cultural, and economic war against the Government of India. According to reports, Special CP Praveer Ranjan said that the probe had revealed that the toolkit seems to have been created by the Poetic Justice Foundation and alleged that the foundation is a pro-Khalistani organization. The FIR has now led to the arrest of Disha Ravi, who is one of the founders of Greta's 'Fridays For Future' in India, for sharing the toolkit on social media.

According to the statement by Anil Mittal of Delhi Police, Disha Ravi was one of the editors of the toolkit Google Doc and a key conspirator in the document's formulation and dissemination. She was arrested on Saturday and remanded under five-day police custody. She has been lodged in Delhi but ever since she was arrested, the Central government has been inviting outrage as the opposition parties, climate, and environmental activists, and celebrities have been voicing against the police for the clampdown, arresting Disha, and slapping the charges of sedition on her.