Bengaluru farmers' group calls Disha's arrest 'inhuman', Cong leaders support activist

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A coalition of farmers in Karnataka issued a statement on Wednesday in support of 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi and condemned her arrest by the Delhi police. 

The statement by the farmer group Aikya Horaata described the Delhi police's action of arresting Disha Ravi from her home in north Bengaluru as 'inhuman'. "On the evening of 13 February, 2021, the Delhi Police illegally took away Disha Ravi, a volunteer of an organisation named ‘Fridays for Future’ from her house in Soladevanahalli in Bengaluru to Delhi without giving proper information to her parents. A court in Delhi has ordered her to be kept in police custody for five days. It is an inhuman act to submit a woman who wants to work voluntarily for protecting the environment to five days of police custody," read the statement.

The statement added that many students had voiced their support for the protest by farmers outside Delhi against the Union government's farm laws. "Many students, including Disha, and other youth have given support to our struggle. This is because they know that this struggle is not only related to farmers, but is a struggle for the future of our country. These youngsters have understood that if the Farm Laws are brought into force, climate change will increase and agriculture by small farmers will be replaced by agriculture companies.Therefore, they are fighting against the laws," the statement said.

Disha Ravi was arrested by the Delhi police on Saturday and remanded to five days of custody by a Delhi court. She was charged with editing a toolkit or a Google document sharing information about the farm laws protest which was tweeted by international climate activist Greta Thunberg. It is to be noted that toolkits are documents that contain basic information on any campaign, tweet suggestions, hashtags and who to tag on social media. They're used commonly in social media campaigns, including those of political parties in India. The FIR by the Delhi police in this case does not specifically mention Disha Ravi but she has been charged with criminal conspiracy and sedition.

Alongside the farmer group, a few Congress leaders voiced their support for Disha Ravi. Laxmi Hebbalkar took to social media to state her support: "21 year old Climate Change activist Disha Ravi, from our lingayat community was taken away to Delhi from Bengaluru and is being charged with sedition for supporting the farmers' protests." 

Congress MLA Sowmya Reddy took part in the protest in Bengaluru against the arrest of Disha Ravi on Monday.