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Jailed Indian climate activist linked to Greta Thunberg

NEW DELHI, India: Indian police have arrested a woman accused of editing and circulating a document tweeted by climate activist Greta Thunberg that authorities say is anti-government.

Swedish climate activist Thunberg tweeted her backing this month for the farmers, who have been demonstrating since December against agricultural reforms they say will harm their livelihood but benefit large corporations. She shared a document she said was a toolkit to create and spread awareness about the farmers’ complaints.

Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava on Tuesday said the arrest of climate activist Disha Ravi was made in accordance with the law which “doesn’t differentiate between a 22-year-old or 50-year-old”.Ravi was arrested from Bengaluru on Saturday in connection with a protest toolkit backing the farmers’ agitation. Police claimed that she had sent the toolkit to teen climate activist Greta Thunberg through the Telegram app, and also “coaxed her to act on it”.

The 22-year-old helped clean up lakes, plant trees and campaigned against plastic. She attended workshops, walked the streets demanding climate action, loved animals and spoke out against sexism and capital punishment. A vegan and the sole-earning member in her family, she worked with a local company that makes plant-based food.

Ravi is also one of the founders of the local wing of Fridays For Future, a global movement begun by climate change activist Greta Thunberg. She participated in campaigns to preserve the lion-tailed macaque in an Indian bio-diversity spot, and stall a hydropower plant, among other causes.

Living in a low-lying neighbourhood in a city which would get easily flooded during rains, she worried about climate change. Bangalore, she said, was experiencing severe rainfall and flooding these days.

She had lived in the family home for 13 years and found that the city had never experienced such heavy rains as it had in recent years.

Ravi did not mince her words. “People of colour are suffering from the climate crisis first-hand – a lot of people don’t give us the attention that we need. The fact that you would choose to listen to a white person on the same issue rather than a person of colour, to me, is environmental racism,” she told Vogue magazine last year.

Bangalore, she said, was experiencing severe rainfall and flooding these days.