Disha Ravi – Another addition to Modi’s list of political blunder

(Sana Ghori, Karachi)
India’s ‘Hindutva inspired’ Narendra Modi government is not so different from any other fascist government – i.e. it utilizes whatever means necessary to ensure and enforce its own agenda and ideology.

Modi government isn’t hesitating from utilizing propaganda, violence and other nefarious means to suppress opposition and even the slightest form of dissent in order to preserve its own image and reputation. However, Modi government’s attempts to hide its illegal and unconstitutional policies have consecutively ended in utter and absolute failure. Whether it be the claim of ‘fictitious’ so-called ‘Surgical Strike’ in Pakistan, claims regarding border skirmish between Indian and Chinese forces in Ladakh or propaganda against protesting Sikh farmers; Modi government has brazenly failed on all frontiers.

What should have happened is that PM Narendra Modi, his government and party officials should have introspected and ‘re-adjusted’ their course of action, policies; but instead they all have showcased utmost arrogance and are executing one political blunder after another resulting in severe criticism and humiliation on a global scale.

Episode of Disha Ravi – is the recent addition in Modi’s list of political blunders. Disha, a 22-year-old climate activist was arrested from Bangalore, Karnataka; is one of the founders of ‘Fridays for Future’ – a pro-environment organization against the threat of climate change; a movement which has now gained global support and recognition. Students who are members of this organization ‘boycott’ their classes on every Friday to protest and hold demonstrations over the issue of climate change and invoke required measures by decision and policy makers.

Due to organization’s pro-environment stance, Disha Ravi is also an associate of Greta Thunberg – a world renowned Swedish climate activist – a factor that put Disha in Modi’s crosshairs. It is pertinent to know that Disha Ravi along with Greta Thunberg, American singer and celebrity Rihanna and several other individuals of global stature, have been extensively critical of Indian government over the ongoing farmers’ protests. They all have publicly voiced their support for the farmers’ movement against agricultural laws introduced by Narendra Modi’s BJP government.

Following Disha’s public support for protesting farmers, protests were held against her across India during which her effigies were torched. Moreover, India’s Ministry of External Affairs also pitched in, and condemned both Disha and Greta Thunberg over their support for the protesting farmers.

In India, dissent and any opinion/voice that is critical of government, is in fact labelled as ‘sedition’; Disha too is facing sedition and treason charges for her criticism against Modi government. Indian authorities contend that Disha had contributed and propagated to ‘pro-farmers’ content resulting in the arrest of 22-year-old climate activist who has now been transferred to Delhi.

The arrest follows Disha’s support for farmers’ protests which was seconded by Greta Thunberg which essentially ‘added fuel to the fire’ as the internationally renowned Swedish climate first commented on Disha’s post, but deleted it afterwards (fearing the backlash against Disha).

Police officials have argued that the content shared by Disha Ravi incited the violent skirmish between protesting Sikh farmers and Indian authorities on India’s Republic Day. The fact is that these farmers have been protesting for around two months now and have been given no relief whatsoever; in fact they have been accused of sedition and treason. The question that arises here is that do such people require an ‘online document’ for incitement after such unfavorable treatment by Narendra Modi government..?

The content shared by Disha Ravi has been termed as a ‘toolkit’ by the police. A ‘toolkit’ is a document which is prepared and issued by members of a certain organization which then allows others to join that particular struggle for the achievement of the specified goal/objective. Indian authorities have stated that Disha formulated this toolkit with the help of Greta Thunberg and that it contained details regarding running a social media campaign for the support of protesting farmers and most notably the alleged ‘plan and strategy’ pertaining to Delhi protests.

According to Reuters, Disha Ravi’s document only contained information regarding an ‘organized and effective’ peaceful demonstration and how it can be propagated at a global level. The point to be noted here is that in a ‘democratic’ country where peaceful protest is the right of every citizen; how can simply ‘organizing’ a protest and apprising the world about it can be interpreted and treated as a ‘crime’..? A fact that is evidently incomprehensible to the Modi government which is driven by vindictive approach and ideology.

The arrest of 22-year-old Disha Ravi has garnered world’s attention and is being extensively covered by international media. This incident has revealed India’s facade, as BJP’s Hindu extremist government has crossed every moral, legal boundary in its blind hatred and totalitarian approach towards dissent and difference of opinion.

What has happened with Disha and the charges she faces, is in fact quite similar to actions and policies enforced in the disputed region of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) by Indian government, along with various other areas within India where BJP’s Hindutva ideology and policies have been opposed by anyone (especially Muslims); however, innumerable such incidents do not make it to public domain as not everyone has global connections and reputation with the likes of Disha Ravi.
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