The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which is leading the agitation against new agri laws, on Monday again demanded the release of 21-year-old environmental activist Disha Ravi. Ravi was arrested on Saturday from Bengaluru by Delhi Police, which alleged that she, along with Mumbai lawyer Nikita Jacob and Pune-based engineer Shantanu, created the "toolkit" related to the farmers' agitation and shared it with others to tarnish India's image.
"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," the umbrella body of farmer unions said in a statement. The police on Monday said that "all due procedures were followed" in Ravi's arrest.
The SKM had on Sunday also demanded Ravi's release. 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. The "toolkit" has been cited by some critics as "proof" of a conspiracy to fuel protests in India The SKM said it will commemorate on Tuesday the contributions of Sir Chhotu Ram, a prominent politician of Punjab province before independence, for peasant consciousness.
"The Unionist Party that he set up brought in a law against usury in the 1930s, that protected peasants from the clutches of moneylenders and restored the right of land to the tiller of the land. "Sir Chhotu Ram is also credited for establishing the mandi system in India, and it is this system that the present farmers' movement seeks to protect and improve," the union body said in a statement.
"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," it added.
Farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at three Delhi border points -- Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur -- for nearly 80 days to press for the repeal of the three agri laws and a legal guarantee on the minimum support price.