The Patiala House Court on Saturday reserved its order in the bail plea applied by Disha Ravi, the climate activist who was arrested by the Delhi Police regarding Greta Thunberg’s farmers’ protest toolkit case, Live Law reported.
The court has reserved its order for February 23 after Ravi’s three-days judicial custody ends.
Ravi, the 21-year-old Bengaluru-based student-climate activist, was arrested by the Cyber Prevention Awareness Detection of Delhi Police Special Cell on February 14 from Bengaluru for allegedly making edits in the toolkit shared by Greta Thunberg related to India’s ongoing farmers’ protest. She was remanded to five-days police custody by the Patiala House court in the case.
What is the Greta Thunberg toolkit?
The teenage Swedish Environmental activist Thunberg was one of the international icons, along with pop star Rihanna, adult film actor Mia Khalifa, American lawyer-author and US Vice President Kamala Harris’ cousin Meena Harris, and several other international journalists, professors and authors, to raise concerns and support the protesting Indian farmers, drawing global attention to the issue. The Indian farmers have been protesting for a few months now against the three Farm Bills passed by the Centre during its 2020 monsoon session.
Thunberg attached a toolkit in her tweet thread on February 3 which she later deleted. On February 4, she posted an updated toolkit and wrote: “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 (They removed their previous document as it was outdated.).”
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 (They removed their previous document as it was outdated.)#StandWithFarmers #FarmersProtesthttps://t.co/ZGEcMwHUNL
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) February 3, 2021
A toolkit is a social media document or booklet which explains an issue or cause. It contains all the details, a set of guidelines, that are necessary for an individual to make their contribution to supporting a particular cause. In protests, a toolkit comes with a methodology of the protest including guidelines for social media protests and materials to contextualise the cause or issue.
Thunberg’s updated toolkit contains information on the ongoing farmers’ protest, the “urgent” and “prior” actions that can be taken to help and support them, such as suggestions about signing petitions, mailing government officials, trending hashtags #StandWithFarmers and #FarmersProtest or protesting in front of government offices and Indian embassies.
What is the toolkit case?
The Delhi Police had filed a First Information Report (FIR) against the creators of the toolkit mentioning that they had not named anyone in the FIR. It also mentioned that the toolkit was created by an organisation “calling itself the Poetic Justice Foundation, a Khalistani group”.
Following Ravi’s arrest and five-days police custody, Ravi filed a writ petition which mentioned that the statements tweeted from the Delhi Police’s official Twitter handle following her arrest “constitute an opinionated and judgmental statement and significantly impinge” on her right to privacy and fair trial, and violate the “Advisory on Media Policy of Police” prejudging the accused and “disclose confidential and prejudicial information about the status of (the) investigation”.
In this process,they all collaborated with pro Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation to spread disaffection against the Indian State. She was the one who shared the Toolkit Doc with Greta Thunberg. @HMOIndia @LtGovDelhi @CPDelhi
— #DilKiPolice Delhi Police (@DelhiPolice) February 14, 2021
In the plea, Ravi also alleged the Delhi Police had leaked confidential information to the media regarding the criminal case against her while seeking to restrain from it. In her plea, she sought directions to take action against News18, Times Now, India Today, NBSA and other satellite television channels for publishing “one-sided defamatory, suggestive innuendos, and half-truths” about her in the case along with running reports of her personal WhatsApp chats that only the police had access to.
Following which the Delhi High Court directed the editors of News18, Times Now, India Today to ensure that there is sensationalised reporting and proper editorial control is exercised while disseminating information to make sure that the investigation is not hampered.
Thunberg took to Twitter to extend her solidarity with Ravi on Friday.
Freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest and assembly are non-negotiable human rights. These must be a fundamental part of any democracy. #StandWithDishaRavi https://t.co/fhM4Cf1jf1
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) February 19, 2021
Who are the accused and why?
On February 12, Nikita Jacob, a Mumbai-based activist and lawyer, was arrested following a raid in her residence after a non-bailable warrant issued against her regarding her involvement in the case. At the same time, activist Shantanu Muluk was also arrested from Pune regarding the same. Both were accused of making edits to the toolkit.
While Muluk was granted bail by the Aurangabad Bench of the High court on February 16, Jacob was granted transit bail of three weeks by the Bombay High Court on February 17.
Ravi, who is also the co-founder of a climate campaigning organisation Fridays For Future, was sent to three-days judicial custody by a Delhi Court on Friday.
The Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Aakash Jain, passed the order when Ravi was produced in the court after the expiry of her five-days police custody.
Referring to the aforementioned bail hearings, advocate Siddharth Aggarwal appeared for Ravi with her bail plea application on Saturday and Additional Solicitor General SV Raju represented the Delhi Police.
During the hearing, ASG Raju accused Ravi of having conspired with the Poetic Justice Foundation and the Sikhs For Justice to “defame” the Indian government on the global platform.
Sikhs For Justice is a banned organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) which the Delhi Police claim to be a “pro-Khalistani” organisation as well. The allegations made by the Delhi Police are based on the ground that the founders of the Poetic Justice Foundation were Dhaliwal and Amita Lal who are “staunch Khalistanis” were a part of a “zoom call” that Ravi was also a part of.
Claiming that she has previously deleted the WhatsApp group and lied during the interrogation, ASG Raju also alleged that Ravi should not be granted bail because she might tamper with evidence.
Delhi Police accused Ravi of planning and inciting the January 26 violence on Red Fort by conspiring with the “Khalistani” organisations and asking people to “march” to Delhi in protest through the ‘toolkit’. However, The Delhi Police could not produce evidence that could prove a direct link between Ravi and the actions that led to the January 26 violence.
“In a conspiracy, people may have different roles..someone inspired by the toolkit would be instigated to commit violence. Because of Toolkit, some elements put a flag.. the first is violence. Toolkit precedes the violence. Go inside Delhi, do this, do that..,” said Raju when the court repeatedly asked about the link between Ravi and the violence.
“This is exactly what I’m alluding to. What is this do this, do that?” questioned the court. “Unless I satisfy my conscience, I don’t move ahead,” the court added.