Weather activist Disha Ravi, 22, who was arrested last month and given Delhi police one of their most embarrassing court appearances in recent days and sparked international outcry over anti-Indian protests, issued his first statement on Saturday.
He was picked up by police late at night on February 13 at his Bengaluru home in connection with an online document calling for support for a farmers’ protest, and was granted bail ten days later by a Delhi court that embarrassed police for “lack of” and “incomprehensible evidence”.
In a statement published on social media on Saturday evening, Disha Ravi elaborated on her arrest and detention, saying she felt isolated and guilty because of the hungry news channels.
He said that he forced himself to believe that the only way he could deal with this was to deceive myself into thinking that this was not happening to him – the police did not knock on my door on February 13, 2021; take his phone and laptop and arrest him.
Ms Ravi recalled how she was not given a lawyer at the first court hearing and was sent to jail for an act that shocked legal and civil rights experts.
He said that while he was standing in that court, searching for my lawyers, he agreed that he would have to defend myself. He also did not know if there was any legal aid available … Before he knew it, he said that he was sent for 5 days by the police.
He also said that no wonder in the days that followed, his self-control was shattered; his pictures were spread in all the media; his actions were found guilty – not in court of law, but on the flat screens of those who sought TRPs [Television Ratings Points.
“We know every minute and hour” inside the cell, the activist added, “we wonder when it has become a crime to think about the basics in this life.”
“My grandparents, who are farmers, have indirectly interfered with my climate change,” wrote Mrs. Ravi, explaining in detail why climate activism and the farmers’ protest against the union’s three rules affected her.
“Climate justice is only for the rich and white. It is a war on the part of the exiles, whose rivers are poisoned; their fields plundered; those who watch their houses flooded every once in a year; and those who tirelessly fight for basic human rights. We take the easy way out and support the defense rather than amplifying the ground,” he said.
Charged with sedition for her role in the development of an online toolkit that police say plans to incite violence during the farmers’ protest, Disha Ravi was released on February 23 by a court that said, “Rebellion cannot be used to work for the emptiness of the injured government.”
The toolkit, which provided basic advice on joining the farmers’ protest on the ground and information on how to show support on social media, was shared by Swedish weather prosecutor Greta Thunberg. Ms Ravi is the founder of the local chapter of Ms Thunberg’s organization.
Read his full statement here:
All of that sounds very absurd: The fog of Delhi; cyber police station; Dein Dayal Hospital; Patiala House Court; and Tihar Prison. In all the years when someone asked me where I saw myself in 5 years, I would not answer ‘prison but I was there.
I had been wondering what it was like to be there for a while, but I came back with no answers. I forced myself to believe that the only way I could deal with this was to deceive myself into thinking that this was not happening to me – the police did not knock on my door on February 13, 2021; they did not take my phone and laptop, they arrested me; they did not bring me to Patiala House Court; the media was not trying to find a place inside the room.
As I stood in that courtroom, scrutinizing my lawyers, I agreed that I should defend myself. I did not know if there was any legal aid available so when the judge asked me if there was anything I could say, I decided to speak my mind. Unbeknownst to me, I was sent to a police cell for five days.
No wonder in the days that followed, my independence was violated; my pictures were scattered in all the news; my actions were found guilty – not in a court of law, but in the propaganda of TRPs on flat screens. I lived there, unaware of the many things I was doing to satisfy their curiosity about me.
At the end of five days (February 19, 2021), I was sent to Judicial Custody for three days. In Tihar, I knew every moment and every minute of every hour of the day. Locked up in my cell, I wondered when it would be a crime to think that the basic necessities of life on this planet were too much for me. Why do millions pay the ultimate amount of greed for a few hundred?
Their interest in the lives of those millions depends on whether they benefit from it or not and that interest has a short shelf-life. Unfortunately, so does humanity, if we do not act in time to stop this endless diet and greed. We are nearing the end of our time.