fredag 19. februar 2021

Disha Ravi: the climate activist who became the face of India's crackdown on dissent

On the streets of Bengaluru the protesters gathered, residents standing defiantly alongside students and activists. Their placards bore slogans such as “standing for farmers is not sedition” and “when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty” and most held up a photo of a smiling young woman: 22-year-old Disha Ravi. Ravi has been a familiar figure in the city’s vibrant environmental circles for the past three years but over the weekend she became the face of the Indian government’s heavy-handed crackdown on dissent.

On Saturday, she was arrested at her home, which she shares with her mother in Bengaluru, flown to Delhi, placed in the custody of Delhi police without a lawyer and charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy. “This government of India is attacking environmental activists and Disha’s arrest shows there is a clear, deeply worrying pattern,” said Leo Saldhana, an environmental activist in Bengaluru. “The point here is to destabilise and then erase all dissent.”

Ravi’s alleged crimes are related to a “toolkit” document connected to India’s ongoing farmer protests, which police say is evidence of a co-ordinated international conspiracy against India.