Delhi Police Registers FIR on Farmers' Protest 'Toolkit' Shared by Greta Thunberg on Social Media

·5-min read

The Delhi Police on Thursday said neither Swedish teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg nor anyone else has been mentioned in their FIR filed earlier today with the Cyber Cell. The complaint has been lodged against the creators of a toolkit to investigate an "international conspiracy" to defame the country, in garb of support of the farmers' protest.

Lending her support to the farmers' agitation, the teen activist had shared "a toolkit for those who want to help". "Here's a toolkit if you want to help," tweeted Thunberg, which takes the user to a document containing details on ways to support the protest.

In the document, various urgent actions, including creating a Twitter storm and protesting outside Indian embassies, were listed which were needed to be taken to support the farmers' protest. Addressing a press conference, Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) Praveer Ranjan said the Delhi Police has come across a document "toolkit" which has an action plan to spread social disharmony in the country and registered a case against its author on charges of criminal conspiracy, sedition and others.

Ranjan said the FIR has been registered for "criminal conspiracy" and an attempt to "promote enmity between groups" under various sections of the IPC. He claimed that the violence on January 26 looks scripted as mentioned in a toolkit shared on social media.

He said the initial probe has revealed that the 'toolkit' has been created by a pro-Khalistani organisation. He said documents uploaded on social media have a proper action plan about a digital strike on or before January 26 and tweet storms on January 23.

Ranjan, when asked if they have named Thunberg in the FIR, said, "We haven't named anybody in the FIR, it's only against the creators of toolkit which is a matter of investigation and the Delhi Police will be investigating that case."

However, Thunberg's tweets on the farmers' protest have been cited in the case filed.

"The sections in FIR are 124A IPC -- spreading disaffection against the government of India, it's regarding sedition, 153 A -- promoting hatred amongst various communities on social/cultural/religious grounds, the same is 153 and 120B for criminal conspiracy to give shape to such a plan," he added.

Shortly after the FIR was filed, the 18-year-old activist said in another tweet, "I still #StandWithFarmers and support their peaceful protest. No amount of hate, threats or violations of human rights will ever change that. #FarmersProtest."

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Thunberg on Wednesday had shared a document on the farmers' agitation, saying, "Here’s an updated toolkit by people on the ground in India if you want to help. (They removed their previous document as it was outdated.) #StandWithFarmers #FarmersProtest."

She had earlier deleted a tweet in which she referred to a “toolkit” for farmers and attached a Google document with details. However, after deleting it, screenshots of her post went viral, with users accusing her of “international conspiracy”.

Thunberg later posted a fresh tweet with an “updated toolkit”, which caused further furore on social media. Twitter exploded with allegations that the document shared mistakenly by the young environmentalist showed how her tweets “weren’t organic and plan of a larger PR campaign to malign India”.

On Tuesday, American pop singer Rihanna had also tweeted about the internet shutdown at farmers’ protest sites around New Delhi.

"Why aren’t we talking about this?" Rihanna wrote in a tweet, sharing an article that highlighted internet cuts in Delhi imposed in places to contain clashes.

The Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday shared a statement in which it urged celebrities to practice restraint and tweet responsibly.

"Before rushing to comment on such matters, we would urge that the facts be ascertained, and a proper understanding of the issues at hand be undertaken. The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible," it read.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Babul Supriyo reacted to the international attention to the issue and said, "The tweets by international celebrities and activists were absolutely unnecessary and its India’s internal matter. The government is doing what needs to be done. This is a pro-farmers government."

Several ministers of the Narendra Modi government took to Twitter on Wednesday saying that tweets by international celebrities and activists was a part of 'international propaganda' and tweeted with hashtags #IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda.

Home Minister Amit Shah on the issue said in a tweet: "No propaganda can deter India’s unity! No propaganda can stop India to attain new heights!" His tweet was posted with hashtags – #IndiaAgainstPropaganda and #IndiaTogether – that were used in the MEA's statement.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in a tweet said: "Motivated campaigns targeting India will never succeed. We have the self confidence today to hold our own. This India will push back."

"Before rushing to comment on such matters, we would urge that the facts be ascertained, and a proper understanding of the issues at hand be undertaken," said Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Prominent Bollywood personalities such as Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Karan Johar too lent their voice through the hashtags that became the top trends on Twitter on Wednesday.

"Farmers constitute an extremely important part of our country. And the efforts being undertaken to resolve their issues are evident. Let’s support an amicable resolution, rather than paying attention to anyone creating differences. 🙏🏻#IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda," Kumar wrote in a tweet.