NEW DELHI: Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, barely 18, who is internationally known for prodding world leaders on matters like climate change, seems to have met her match in Delhi Police. The men in khaki have slapped a case against the ‘creators’ of a toolkit flashed by her on Twitter which enables people to support the farmers' protests either from the confines of their home or office, regardless of the nation they’re in. (This toolkit was later deleted and then re-shared with an updated link.)
The registered FIR, which names no one, cites charges of sedition, an overseas "conspiracy" to defame the country and an attempt to "promote enmity between groups".
Greta last hit global headlines for her 'death stare' at the then US President Donald Trump; this time, too, the teen campaigner, unruffled, tweeted that she "still" stood with farmers and "no amount of threats" would change that.
Her ‘toolkit’ contained the following advisories: (a) People can express solidarity through a photo or a video on social media platforms with a hashtag #FarmersProtest or #StandWithFarmers. Individuals can also share a video asking the government embarrassing questions about the three contentious farm laws.
(b) She also suggests tweeting to handles like @PMOIndia, @nstomar (Minister of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare), heads of state of the protester as well as international organisations such as the IMF, WTO, UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation as well as the World Bank.
A section of Twitter, seething since her comments on Wednesday, erupted with allegations that the document shared mistakenly by the young environmentalist showed how her tweets “weren’t organic and plan of a larger PR campaign to malign India”.
The infuriated Delhi Police, of course, has a different take on her advisories and hope to unravel an international conspiracy. An official was cited by a television channel as saying that "some elements" were trying to take advantage of the farmer protests and "one account" had posted a toolkit that was authored by a group called the "Poetic Justice Foundation," which was a "Khalistani’’ outfit. "Taking cognizance of the toolkit, the police has registered a case for spreading disaffection against the government of India (sedition) and disharmony between groups on religious, social and cultural grounds, and hatching a criminal conspiracy to give shape to this," said Praveer Ranjan, Special Commissioner of Police.
Delhi Police's official Twitter account has also shared a post saying it has "taken cognizance of a 'Toolkit Document' found on a social media platform that predates and indicates a copycat execution of a conspiracy behind the January 26 violence." ‘‘The call was to wage economic, social, cultural and regional war against India," the tweet read.
Greta, it seems, has an uncanny knack of spotting a cause célèbre -- a controversial issue that attracts a great deal of public attention. However, the Indian establishment, by its ham-handed handling of the international celebs’ tweets, has unwittingly pushed the farmers’ agitation into global arc lights.