BENGALURU: Did climate activist Disha Ravi know Peter Friedrich -- an alleged close associate of Bhajan Singh (BS) Bhinder alias Iqbal Chowdhary -- a leading proponent of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Kashmir Khalistan (K2) desk?
In a major twist to Disha’s arrest, Delhi Police on Monday said that Disha and lawyer activist Nikita Jacob were the editors of the first toolkit, which was “accidentally” tweeted by Greta Thunberg on February 3. She deleted it and later tweeted another toolkit, stating the previous one was “outdated”.
Also read: Ramachandra Guha hits out at Centre, many groups hold protests demanding activist's release
The email account allegedly created by another activist, Shantanu, is the owner of this document. Delhi Police arrested Disha from Bengaluru on February 13 and have now obtained non-bailable warrants against Nikita and Shantanu.
This toolkit, allegedly put together by the trio on the alleged instructions of pro-Khalistani group Poetic Justice Foundation, had mentioned Peter Friedrich as a person to be followed along with other NGOs, and established fact-checking organisations with the intention to spread fake news on the three farm laws and create widespread disharmony among groups, said Joint Commissioner, Cyber Cell, Delhi Police, Prem Nath. “It had secessionist and pro-Khalistani content embedded into it through links and texts,” he said.
“Peter Friedrich has been on the radar of Indian Intelligence and security agencies since 2006. He is on the K2 desk of ISI. Why was his name mentioned in the ‘who to be followed’ segment in the toolkit? Did MO Dhaliwal of Poetic Justice Foundation introduce Friedrich to Disha, Nikita and Shantanu to him through Puneet -- a pro-Khalistan woman in Canada -- or did they get in touch with him directly. All this is now subject to investigation,” Deputy Commissioner, Special Cell, Delhi Police, Manishi Chandra stated.
“Disha had messaged Greta on the WhatsApp group to delete the toolkit which had their names as authors, soon after she tweeted it. She said they could get into trouble and can be booked under the UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Activities Act),” said Chandra. “Disha deleted the WhatsApp group. We have extracted highly incriminating information from her phone. She, Shantanu and Nikita created and sent the Toolkit Google doc to others,” he added. “Disha is associated with Fridays for Future, and had sent the Toolkit document to Greta on Telegram and coaxed her to act,” said Nath.
The intention was to create a ‘Twitterstorm’ ahead of Republic Day, he added. He said Disha’s arrest was made “in the presence of her mother and local police. Her lawyer was informed and she was produced before the court as per procedures. In the court, she was represented by a lawyer and the same finds mention in the court order”.
Oppn rallies behind activist
Bengaluru: While leaders of the BJP have called for strict action against climate activist Disha Ravi, Opposition parties have thrown their weight behind the 21-year-old, condemning her arrest. Congress leaders fumed against the BJP governments at the Centre and State, deeming charges of sedition against the activist flimsy, and her arrest a silencing of dissent. Support is pouring in for the activist, right from former Congress president Rahul Gandhi to former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to DMK chief MK Stalin.
Your lips are free to speak, say that the truth is still alive! They are scared, not the country! India won’t be silenced
Rahul Gandhi, commenting on a range of topics, including Disha’s arrest and a video calling for the hanging of journalists.
The arrest of Disha Ravi, a climate activist, has exposed the cracks in the Indian democracy under Narendra Modi. How can the act of supporting farmers be charged under sedition? I strongly condemn this politically motivated act by Delhi Police
Siddaramaiah, accusing the Prime Minister of first appealing to educate girls only to jail educated girls for asking questions.
... Delhi Police has acted with brutality on this bright, fierce, young activist. Mr Amit Shah please end your Police Raj... Don’t suppress spirit of youth, instead nourish it... 2 more activists in Mumbai fear arrest. Can’t believe what is happening to India. Farmers are terrorists. Journalists are anti nationals. Activists are seditious. Opposition are DeshDrohis. Students are traitors...
Dinesh Gundu Rao, Congress leader.
Disha Ravi is an Indian patriot. Supporting farmers or environmental activism are civic virtues. Purpose of her arrest is just to instil fear in people not to raise voice
Krishna Byre Gowda, former minister.
Also watch: After Disha Ravi, Delhi Police make two more arrests in Greta toolkit row