Disha Ravi
Disha Ravi

Activist Disha Ravi whose arrest by Delhi Police created a ruckus in the country for her involvement in the Greta Thunberg toolkit case gave her first statement on the entire controversy on Saturday. Delhi Police's action against the activist drew enormous criticism as their arrest lacked legal procedures before presenting Disha in the court.

The activist opened up on the issue through social media, she shared pictures of her statements on the controversy on Twitter. She detailed her arrest and custody, saying she felt her autonomy had been violated and she had been pronounced guilty by ratings-hungry news channels.

"I had coerced myself into believing that the only way I would be able to live through this was by tricking myself into thinking that this wasn't happening to me - the police did not knock on my door on 13 February 2021; they did not take my phone and laptop, and arrest me," she said.

Recalling the legal flaw, she said she was not provided with a lawyer in the first hearing in court and sent to police custody in a move that had appalled legal and civil rights experts.

"As I stood in that courtroom, desperately searching for my lawyers, I came to terms with the fact that I would have to defend myself. I had no idea whether there was legal assistance available... Before I knew it, I was sent to 5 days in police custody," she said.

"It's no surprise that in the days that followed, my autonomy was violated; my photographs were splashed all over the news; my actions were pronounced guilty - not in the court of law, but on flat screens by seekers of TRPs [Television Ratings Points]. I sat there, unaware of the many abstractions made of me in order to satiate their idea of me," she added.

Saying she was "aware of every minute and every hour" inside the jail cell, the activist added that she "wondered when it became a crime to think the most basic elements of sustenance on this planet".

"My grandparents, who are farmers, indirectly birthed my climate activism," Ms Ravi wrote, explaining in detail why climate activism and the farmers' protest against the three federal laws resonated with her.

"Climate Justice isn't just for the rich and the white. It is a fight alongside those who are displaced; whose rivers have been poisoned; whose lands were stolen; who watch their houses get washed away every other season; and those who fight tirelessly for what are basic human rights. We fight alongside those actively silenced by the masses and portrayed as 'voiceless', because it is easier for savarnas to call them voiceless. We take the easy way out and fund saviourism rather than amplify the voices on ground," she said.

The activist expressed gratitude to all those who stood by her, she said, "all those still in jail whose stories are not marketable" and "the marginalized that are not worthy of your screen time".

The activist was released from the jail on February 23 by the court as the judge said he did not find Ms Ravi's link to the toolkit or a Canada-based group called the Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF) objectionable.

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Free Press Journal