Environmental Activist Greta Thunberg Faces Police Action in India

Climate activist, Greta Thunberg (l), former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and the UN Secretary-General António Guterres (r) meet at the R20 Austria World Summit in Vienna. (28 May 2019). Photo: UN Vienna / Nikoleta Haffar (file photo)
Climate activist, Greta Thunberg (l), former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and the UN Secretary-General António Guterres (r) meet at the R20 Austria World Summit in Vienna. (28 May 2019). Photo: UN Vienna / Nikoleta Haffar (file photo)

Environmental Activist Greta Thunberg Faces Police Action in India

It is learnt that in response to Greta Thunberg’s support to farmers’ protest, the Indian government has decided to silence her with a police case against her action.

By Rakesh Raman

Teen climate campaigner Greta Thunberg said today (February 4) that she will continue to support the peaceful protest of Indian farmers despite being threatened by the government-backed paraphernalia.

Her reaction has come after a series of hate messages were posted against her by pro-government trolls on social media platforms such as Twitter.

With a tweet, Thunberg had first extended her support to the protesting farmers on Wednesday (February 3) when she wrote “We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India,” and shared a CNN article about the protests and the government’s Internet restrictions near protest sites in Delhi.

It is learnt that in response to her support for the protest, the Indian government has decided to silence her by filing a police case against her action. According to an NDTV report, Thunberg’s Twitter posts to promote farmers’ agitation have led to a case of “criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity on grounds of religion” filed by the Delhi Police.

But Thunberg, 18, said she is not deterred. “I still #StandWithFarmers and support their peaceful protest. No amount of hate, threats or violations of human rights will ever change that. #FarmersProtest,” she tweeted today (February 4).

It is also alleged that Thunberg who is a Swedish environmental activist has posted a ‘toolkit‘ to help intensify protests by Indian farmers who have been protesting since November 2020 against the contentious farm laws introduced by the government of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.

Later, according to reports, Delhi Police clarified that it has not named anybody in the FIR (first information report) which is against the creators of toolkit and Delhi Police will be investigating that case. A toolkit is basically a campaign content material which is used mostly in digital campaigns.

Since Thunberg had posted the toolkit on her Twitter account to spread awareness about Indian farmers’ protest, she is obviously involved in the case although police claims she is not named in the FIR. 

Reports suggest that Delhi Police has filed an FIR under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc.) and Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) over her recent tweets on farmers’ protests in India.

Since the Modi government has unleashed police brutality on the peaceful protesters, Thunberg and a slew of other global leaders believe that the Modi government is committing grave human rights violations.

SUPPRESSION OF DISSENT IN INDIA

In order to suppress democratic dissent with brutal force, Delhi Police – which works as a private mob army of Modi and his Home Minister Amit Shah – keeps implicating innocent citizens in false cases. Since courts are complicit in government crimes, the peaceful protesters are being beaten, terrorized, and jailed by police without trial. Now, Delhi Police has crossed its limits to intimidate Thunberg who is a foreigner and global activist.

Disturbed by the brutal behavior of Delhi Police, recently a group of former judges and civil servants decided to hold an independent probe into the February 2020 communal violence that took place in New Delhi. It is largely believed that police coordinated the mob violence in which more than 50 people – mostly Muslims – were murdered in Delhi.

The protesting farmers – most of them are Sikhs (a minority community in India) – are also fearing a similar state-sponsored pogrom against them. In order to save the farmers from state excesses, a number of global leaders are condemning the Modi government for using force against farmers and their families who are protesting on the outskirts of Delhi.

In a series of condemnation statements against the Modi government, a new petition is urging Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to condemn the Indian government’s violence against farmers.

Launched by a leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party and MP Jagmeet Singh, the online petition argues that the Indian government’s use of violence on farmers protesting mass privatization of the agricultural sector is appalling.

Also, British Labour Party MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi has sent a letter, signed by over 100 MPs and Lords, to PM Boris Johnson on the ongoing farmers’ protests in India, asking him to raise this matter with Modi.

Dhesi has also released a video in Punjabi language in which he has revealed how the Indian farmers have faced brute force unleashed on them by the Indian police and security forces.

Since human rights violations under Modi’s regime are increasing in all parts of India, a new parliamentary debate in the United Kingdom (UK) has discussed the state repression in Kashmir, which is a disputed territory between India and Pakistan. The debate, organized in January 2021 by Labour Party’s Sarah Owen, included the participation of cross-party British MPs.

Rural Resistance: Protests by Farmers

Raman Media Network (RMN) Company – which is working in diversified content creation, management, and distribution businesses on a global scale – has launched “Rural Resistance: Protests by Farmers” editorial section.

This section under the RMN news service has been created to cover the agricultural reforms and ongoing farmers’ protests in India. It will carry news, views, and related developments and invites farmers as well as farming experts to share their views which will be published on the site.

You can click here to visit the section.

Meanwhile, according to reports, the authoritarian Modi government has shut Internet connectivity and built multi-layered barricading, cemented iron nails on road, and put barbed wires to prevent farmers’ participation in peaceful protests.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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