NEW DELHI, India
A Delhi court in India on Tuesday granted bail to 22-year-old Disha Ravi, a climate activist arrested for sedition in connection with a “toolkit” to help protesting farmers.
Swedish climate crusader Greta Thunberg had shared the toolkit on Twitter, providing information on how to support ongoing protests against agriculture reforms.
Delhi police accused Ravi, a founder of the local chapter of Thunberg’s Fridays for Future movement, of editing and being a “key conspirator” in the “formulation and dissemination” of the document that sparked violence in Delhi on Jan. 26, India’s Republic Day.
Her arrest in the southern city of Bengaluru on Feb. 14 had triggered outrage, with opposition politicians, prominent voices, and rights activists calling the move an attack on democracy.
“Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence on record, I do not find any palpable reason for keeping a 22-year-old in custody,” Judge Dharmender Rana said in his order.
The bail was granted subject to furnishing two sureties of 100,000 Indian rupees ($1,369) each.
The court said that “except for a bare assertion,” “no evidence” has been brought to judge’s notice “to support the contention that any violence took place at any of the Indian embassies…”
“In my considered opinion, creation of a WhatsApp group or being editor of an innocuous toolkit is not an offence… there is nothing on record to suggest that the applicant accused subscribed to any secessionist idea,” the order said.
Tens of thousands of farmers are encamped on highways outside the capital New Delhi since November against new laws they say will hurt their livelihoods, and benefit large corporations.
Last month, the Supreme Court ordered an indefinite stay on the implementation of the laws, but farmers insist on a full repeal.
The movement is one of the biggest challenges Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced since coming to power in 2014.