Disha Ravi has been featured in publications across the world as a young activist voicing her strong opinions about the environmental crisis in India. However, the 21-year-old climate activist from the Soladevanahalli area of Bengaluru was arrested by Delhi Police's Special Cell on Saturday for her alleged role in the infamous "toolkit" which, according to police, was behind the January 26 violence in the capital.
Graduating from Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru, she has been regularly writing columns and articles in leading news portals on climate action and is a familiar name in important climate forums frequented by youth activists across the globe.
Disha describes herself as co-founder of Fridays For Future, India.
In an interview to Auto Report Africa in 2020, she is quoted as saying: "My motivation to join climate activism came from seeing my grandparents, who are farmers, struggle with the effects of the climate crisis. At the time, I wasn't aware that what they were experiencing was the climate crisis because climate education is non-existent where I'm from. Only when I did my research, did I find out about it."
However, Disha's role came under the lens of the Delhi Police after Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted a toolkit document which the police say had led to the January 26 violence in New Delhi. Though the Delhi Police did not name Thunberg in the FIR, it went ahead to register the case against the authors of the toolkit.
The police later described Disha Ravi as key conspirator in the document's formulation and dissemination and said that she started a WhatsApp group and collaborated to draft the document.
"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," said a senior police officer.
The "toolkit" is a term activists use for a campaign information document.
However, the Delhi Police also said that she asked Greta to remove the main document after its incriminating details accidentally leaked into the public domain. This is many times more than the two lines editing that she claims, they said.
The Delhi Police had registered an FIR on February 4 on charges of sedition, criminal conspiracy and promoting hatred among groups under Sections 124-A, 120-A and 153-A of the Indian Penal Code against the "creators" of the 'toolkit', which was shared by Thunberg.
After Disha Ravi has been sent to police remand for five days, sources in Delhi Police said that more arrests are likely, based on the investigation of the arrested accused.