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Arrest Of Disha Ravi: The Toolkit Case

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Disha Ravi, 22, is a climate activist from Bengaluru. She instituted the India chapter of "Fridays for Future," an international protest network launched by Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

Disha Ravi became the centre of all the attention all around the world when she got arrested on February 13, 2021 whereby she was alleged to be involved in the document “toolkit” with Greta Thunberg. She was arrested on charges of sedition for allegedly creating a "toolkit" to help the Indian farmers who are part of an ongoing protest movement opposing the new agricultural policy proposed by the government.

Ravi focuses on giving a voice to the communities in need and is an author of multiple editorials and articles for international youth climate activists. She was also featured as one of the four activists of colour working against environmental racism in a September 2020 edition of British Vogue magazine. On February 15, 2021, The New Indian Express mentioned her as "Bengaluru’s Greta."

If some suggestions in a documented format are given for the purpose of a task or suggested method, it will be called a toolkit. Toolkits are used by academics, educators, media and reporters, NGOs and business heads in companies. The toolkit not only aids in planning, but also helps in managing and synchronizing a project. Similarly, during a movement, supporters are mobilized using it online and offline.

For example, the toolkit shared on WhatsApp during a demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which hashtags to use for the campaign was also mentioned on Twitter. It was also told at which places the demonstration was to be held. Taken into police custody, what to do and what not to do. Those who want to give food, water and medicines to the protesters were also given suggestions in this regard. In a toolkit designed for a movement, links to content, news are also given to justify the protest.

Recently, its discussion has intensified owing to the ongoing farmer movement and a toolkit shared by Greta Thunberg through her Twitter handle for this, but it is nothing. Toolkits have been prepared for many years. By the way, due to social media, awareness has increased in the last few years. In 2011, there was the Occupy Wall Street Movement, which used a toolkit to protest the growing economic inequality in the US and since then every movement example the Black Lives Matter also had a toolkit.

Infact, a toolkit was also prepared in Hong Kong to educate people for wearing masks and how to be safe from the Novel Corona Virus.

Similarly on February 4, Greta Thunberg tweeted a toolkit as to how the movement for the farmer’s protest can be supported with all the ways by which they can maximize the voices of the farmers which also included number of links which redirected to a blog or a newsletter about the farmer’s protest and what hashtags could be used for the same.

Initial investigations suggest that it was prepared by the Poetic Justice Foundation. Its prior action section was planned for January 26, the day violence erupted at several places in Delhi. The way of protest was set in Delhi on that day, but some farmers went out of the way and reached the Red Fort. The Delhi Police claims that the action plan was given in the toolkit on January 26 in exactly the same way as the violence was carried out.

Disha Ravi’s arrest as per law for being a part of the criminal conspiracy and allegedly backing the farmer’s protest. However, the toolkit has been a part of all social changes from a long time whereby no relation can be formed between Disha Ravi being involved into a criminal conspiracy just by sharing a tweet which had a toolkit for supporting the farmer’s protest.

Disha Ravi was arrested with the charges of conspiracy and sedition. The view of being an activist, supporting a movement does not however, amounts to sedition. She was linked to the violence which formed a part of the farmer’s protest on Republic Day.

On February 24, Disha Ravi the Climate Activist was released respectfully. The Delhi High Court termed the evidences submitted against her in the court of law as vague and scanty to be able to form enough ground to detain her anymore.

The toolkit case has given a rise to the controversy as how the freedom of speech is being curtailed by the government where the government wants to focus on how the broadcasts on social media can influence the youth and wants to ensure that the broadcasts that are being shared on social media are verified.