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Farmers say govt brazenly misusing police power; demand unconditional release of Disha Ravi

BusinessToday.In     February 16, 2021

Protesting farmers at Delhi's borders have extended their support to 21-year-old environmental activist Disha Ravi after police arrested her for her alleged involvement in creating the 'toolkit' shared by teen climate activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is leading the agitation against new agri laws demanded the release of Disha. The SKM said that the Centre is brazenly misusing power to suppress the farmers' movement. Echoing the SKM's sentiments, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) also condemned Disha Ravi's arrest.

In a media statement, SKM said: "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".

KSMC said, "terrified Modi government is killing humanity by arresting a 21-year-old girl". It further called for the withdrawal of sedition cases against several journalists in light of their reportage of the January 26 violence in Delhi.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg had shared the "toolkit" to lend her support to the farmers' agitation against the three new agri laws. In the document, various urgent actions, including creating a Twitter storm and protesting outside Indian embassies, were listed to rally support for the farmers' protest. But the "toolkit" has been cited by some critics as "proof" of a conspiracy to fuel protests in India.

Disha has been arrested for allegedly sharing Thunberg's "toolkit". Delhi Police claimed that Disha Ravi, who was arrested by a cyber cell team, was an editor of the "toolkit Google doc" and the "key conspirator" in the document's formulation and dissemination. Delhi cops have maintained that "all due procedures were followed" in Disha's arrest.

Separately, the SKM also reiterated it has given a call for rail roko action (rail blockade) across India on February 18 for four hours to press for their demands. "There will be a 'rail roko' programme across the country from 12 pm to 4 pm on February 18," the SKM said.

The SKM also said it will commemorate on Tuesday the contributions of Sir Chhotu Ram, a prominent politician of Punjab province before independence, for peasant consciousness. "On February 16, SKM calls on all its constituents to organise meetings that explain the contributions of Sir Chhotu Ram and the need to further strengthen the ongoing movement, taking inspiration from exemplary people like him," the statement added.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at the three Delhi border points --- Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur --- for nearly 80 days, demanding a complete repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price for their crops.

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