Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

Activists belonging to various human rights organizations hold placards as they stage a demonstration against the arrest of the activist Disha Ravi by Delhi Police for her alleged involvement in the instigation of violence during the farmers' protest in Bangalore, India on February 15, 2021. (Photo: Manjunath Kiran/AFP via Getty Images)

Activists belonging to various human rights organizations hold placards as they stage a demonstration against the arrest of the activist Disha Ravi by Delhi Police for her alleged involvement in the instigation of violence during the farmers' protest in Bangalore, India on February 15, 2021. (Photo: Manjunath Kiran/AFP via Getty Images)

#ReleaseDishaRavi: Global Outrage After India Arrests Climate Activist Over Farmer Protest Toolkit Shared by Greta Thunberg

Ravi's arrest "is an unprecedented attack on democracy," said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. "Supporting our farmers is not a crime."

Jessica Corbett

Public figures within and beyond India are demanding the release of Disha Ravi, a climate campaigner accused of sedition for allegedly editing and distributing an activist "toolkit" in support of the ongoing farmers' protest that was tweeted by Fridays for Future founder Greta Thunberg.

A petition calling for Ravi's release has over 12,100 signatures. Activists, actors, politicians, and others have condemned her weekend arrest, which followed months of farmer-led demonstrations against agricultural reforms and other policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing Hindu nationalist government.

More than 50 academics, activists, and artists have released a joint statement denouncing Ravi's arrest as "disturbing," "illegal in nature," and an "over-reaction of the state," according to The Tribune, an English-language daily in North India.

Arresting the activist, in her early 20s, "is an unprecedented attack on democracy," tweeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. "Supporting our farmers is not a crime."

Indian MP P. Chidambaram, also responded on Twitter, declaring that "the Indian state must be standing on very shaky foundations if Disha Ravi, a... student of Mount Carmel college and a climate activist, has become a threat to the nation."

"India is becoming the theatre of the absurd and it is sad that the Delhi Police has become a tool of the oppressors," he added. "I strongly condemn the arrest of Disha Ravi and urge all students and youth to raise their voices to protest against the authoritarian regime."

The incident also caught the attention of American lawyer Meena Harris—the vice president's niece—who shared a Twitter thread from poet Rupi Kaur:

Delhi Police said in a series of tweets Sunday that Ravi—who co-founded a branch of the youth-led climate movement Fridays for Future in Bangalore—is a "key conspirator" in the "formulation" and "dissemination" of the toolkit. They also accused her of starting a related group on the messaging service WhatsApp.

The Guardian reports that Ravi "has now been charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy." According to the newspaper:

At a court on Sunday Ravi broke down in tears and said she had only edited two lines of the toolkit file. Police alleged in their statement they had technical evidence that Ravi's role in editing the toolkit was "many times more than the two lines editing that she claims." The court remanded Ravi to five days in police custody after police requested time to "unearth her connections with the Sikhs for Justice."

Previously, Delhi Police said the toolkit, a version of which is available on an encrypted site, "predates and indicates a copycat execution of a conspiracy behind" protests that turned violent on January 26. The police added that "the call was to wage economic, social, cultural, and regional war against India."

The available toolkit, which does not advocate violence, suggests actions such as supporting Indian farmers on social media using the hashtags #FarmersProtest and #StandWithFarmers, calling and emailing government representatives, and organizing or participating in on-the-ground protests.

"Disha is a dedicated climate activist," a volunteer at the India chapter of Fridays for Future who declined to be named due to safety concerns told CNN. "It was difficult to wrap my head yesterday when I came to know about [her arrest], I was shocked."

"This leads to a lot of caution," the volunteer added. "We are asking for livable future... It is our right."

Leo Saldanha, a member of the Environment Support Group in Bengaluru, which organized the petition, told Reuters that Ravi's arrest is aimed at quashing dissent.

"This is their way of trying to scare away youngsters from raising their voice about anything," Saldanha said of the Indian government. "This sends a message to all young people out there that, you know, shut up and stay at home or this is what is going to happen to you."

Supporters of Ravi—including Indian actors Siddharth and Swara Bhasker—have turned to social media to call for her release using the hashtags #DishaRavi, #FreeDishaRavi, and #ReleaseDishaRavi.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Watch: Bernie Sanders Argues 'We Must End the Greed of Big Pharma'

The live address comes as the Senate Budget Committee chair continues to push for including Medicare expansion and drug pricing reforms in the Build Back Better package.

Common Dreams staff ·


Reconciliation Framework 'Not Enough' to Push Through Infrastructure Bill, Progressives Warn

"We need to have a vote ready for the Build Back Better plan, not a framework," insisted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "We want to have both of these votes together."

Brett Wilkins ·


McDonald's Workers Join 'Striketober' and Walk Out Over Sexual Harassment

One striker participated because "McDonald's still refuses to take responsibility for the countless women and teenagers who face harassment on the job at its stores across the globe."

Jessica Corbett ·


Breaking: FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine for Kids 5 to 11

With just one abstention, the advisory panel voted 17-0 to approve the vaccine for younger children which scientific review has deemed both safe and effective against the deadly virus.

Common Dreams staff ·


Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo