BENGALURU — Indian opposition politicians and activists condemned on Monday the arrest of a 22-year-old climate activist accused of helping to edit and distribute a document by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg that promoted farmer protests.
Police took Disha Ravi to the capital from her home in the southern city of Bengaluru to question her over the accusation that she disseminated the document during the months-long protest on the outskirts of Delhi.
A Delhi police source said Ravi had been arrested over a sedition case against those accused of authoring a “toolkit” on ways to help the farmers. If proved, the charge carries a penalty of life imprisonment.
On Sunday a court ordered Ravi held in police custody for five days, sparking outrage on social media and among farm unions.
“Disha Ravi’s arrest is the latest escalation in India’s crackdown on free expression and political dissent, as it seeks to stifle the farmers’ mass protests,” said Shashi Tharoor, an MP from the main opposition Congress party.
Ravi could not be reached in custody and her family was not immediately available for comment.
Bhavreen Kandhari, a member of Thunberg’s movement in India, said it was waiting for complete clarity from the government and police before making any statement.
“We are waiting for more information regarding the basis of the criminal case,” said Kandhari, a 45-year-old environment activist and a founding member of the movement’s India chapter.
A senior official in the home ministry, which is overseeing the investigation, said the Delhi police had “found concrete evidence” against Ravi before her arrest. – Reuters