The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of protesting farmer unions on Monday condemned the arrest of young climate activist Disha Ravi and demanded her immediate release.
22 year old Disha Ravi was arrested on Saturday after Delhi police accused her of editing and circulating an online “toolkit” tweeted by climate activist Greta Thunberg, which had information on the farmers’ demonstrations, as well as how to join the rallies and support the movement online.
The SKM showed anger over the ‘misuse’ of police power by the government in its efforts to weaken the farmers’ agitation against Narendra Modi government’s new three farm laws.
“We are deeply concerned and anguished about the brazen misuse of police power by the government in its efforts to weaken the ongoing farmers’ movement. We condemn the arrest of young environmental activist Disha Ravi without due procedures being followed. SKM demands her immediate unconditional release,” SKM said in a statement.
On Sunday, Disha Ravi was remanded in custody until a court hearing in five days’ time.
The arrest has caused outrage, with country’s opposition leaders, academics, rights activists and several community leaders calling it “alarming” and an attack on free speech.
Meanwhile, the ‘Delhi Chalo’ farmers’ protest at border points of New Delhi has entered the 83rd day today. Thousands of farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana, are staging a sit-in protest along Delhi borders. The protest started on November 26, 2020. The farmers are demanding a complete rollback of the new farm reform laws and a guarantee on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system being retained. Multiple rounds of talks between the Centre and the farmers’ union leaders have ended in a stalemate. Protesting farmers fear that the new laws will dismantle the MSP system and corporatise farming.