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Farmer unions demand release of detained climate activist Disha Ravi

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Members of various political parties shout slogans during a protest against new farm laws in Mumbai India Saturday Feb. 6 2021. Tens of thousands of protesting Indian farmers blocked highways across the country for three hours Saturday to press their

Ravi's arrest came days after Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg offered her support to the farmers by sharing a protest "toolkit", much to the ire of Delhi Police who have registered a case against Thunberg for "criminal conspiracy".

A police statement said Ms Ravi, from southern Bangalore, was a "key conspirator in the document's formulation and dissemination".

The move was quickly met with protests and criticism.

"Arrest of. Disha Ravi is an unprecedented attack on Democracy".

A coalition of activist groups demanded Ms Ravi's release and said it was "extremely anxious for her safety and wellbeing".

Police have been cracking down on the farmers' movement, which of late has drawn global support, including from U.S. pop star Rihanna and Meena Harris, an activist and niece of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.

A lawyer familiar with the developments told Scroll.in that Ravi's family had not been given any details when she was taken away - not even whether she was being arrested or detained for questioning.

Before the Republic Day violence, that left 500 police personnel injured and a protestor dead, Nikita and Shantanu had on 11 January attended a Zoom meeting organized by PFJ in which modalities were chose to create the "toolkit" titled "Global Farmer Strike" and "Global Day of Action, 26 January", Nath said.

Why are Indian farmers protesting?

Disha Ravi, 22, was arrested in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Disha allegedly made the request fearing registration of case under the stringent the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), police claimed.

"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".

"The Indian state must be standing on very shaky foundations if Disha Ravi, a 22 year old student of Mount Carmel college and a climate activist, has become a threat to the nation", P.Chidambaram, a leader of the main opposition Congress opposition said. 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.

Thousands of farmers protesting the Centre " s new agri laws had clashed with the police during their tractor parade on 26 January. Overseas, the niece of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Meena Harris, criticized the government on Twitter for silencing activists. She also sought interim protection from any coercive steps by the police and a copy of the FIR filed against her. The warrants came earlier today, two days after Delhi police arrested climate activist Disha Ravi from Bengaluru.

Greta later deleted the tweet, posting an updated one.

India's foreign ministry hit out this month at "sensationalist social media hashtags and comments" by celebrities following posts from Thunberg and pop singer Rihanna, who also tweeted in support of the farmer protests.

Environmentalists and campaigners say the toolkit is a routine online campaign strategy document. Moreover, since it speaks of solidarity protests at or near Indian embassies, it suggests that the toolkit was designed primarily for foreigners or people living outside India.

A group of people gathered in Bengaluru and held placards seeking her release. India is one of the South Asian countries that are at risk of adverse climate change destruction and she has been fighting for climate justice since Day 1.

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