Skip to main content

Disha Ravi case: Conspiracy theory is being floated to 'divert' public attention

Counterview Desk 

Three well-known civil rights organisations, National Alliance of People's Movements, Coalition for Environmental Justice in India and People's Union for Civil Liberties have said that that government should “stop stifling democracy”, and instead enter into dialogue with the youth to “secure India’s future.”
Stating that the government’s response in targeting young activists, including Disha Ravi, and the government’s intent to criminalise dissent, is “illegal and disproportionate” a note distributed at a media conference said, “The ongoing attack on youth climate activists by the Indian state is symptomatic of a growing trend to deal with the democratic right to freedom of speech and dissent with an authoritarian hand.”
Those spoke to the media included Kavita Srivastava, Nagraj Adve, Ram Wangkheirakpam, Sandeep Pandey, TM Krishna, Meera Sanghamitra, Abhilasha Singh, Ashish Kothari, Nityanand Jayaraman, Leo Saldanha, Vinay Sreenivasa, Miloon Kothari and Manshi Asher. Senior environmentalist Lalita Ramdas sent in her message of solidarity.

Text:

The manner in which Disha Ravi, a young 22 year climate activist has been treated, has the hallmarks of a state that is readily willing to flout rule of law and established procedural norms, instead of listening to the country’s youth, the media conference was told. 
The warrants issued against two more young people, Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk, and the selective ‘leaks’ to the media from Disha’s private messages, are all attempts to paint these young people as part of an international conspiracy to destabilise India.
These actions are aimed at diverting public attention from the most pressing needs of the nation, such as the farmers’ crisis, the ecological collapse, and the economic insecurity of hundreds of millions of people, all intensified by the ongoing selling out of natural resources to corporate interests. Rather than put all its attention into tackling these issues, the government is cooking up patently false narratives of conspiracy and terrorism.
There is nothing seditious in the actions of the young people being targeted, or of tens of thousands of other youth involved in social and environmental issues. Challenging the state for its lack of attention to their collective futures and the future of the country is not an act of sedition.
Unable and unwilling to engage with the protesting farmers, the government is busy trying to use the Khalistani brush to tarnish their movement and those who support them, including now the youth environmental activists. This is shameful over-reach and characteristic of a bully state.
The disturbingly frequent use of undemocratic laws like Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), or the ease with which charges of colonial era sedition charges are being levelled, is far higher and more frequently employed than even during colonial times! These have been used against many senior activists, professionals, educators, journalists and others; now they are being used against very young people.
As teachers, parents, researchers, environmental and social activists, adivasis, dalits, farmers, and professionals from and also representing a wide range of movements, networks and sectors, we are very deeply concerned about these actions of the Central government. 
Such actions indicate the tendencies of the Indian state moving towards more authoritarianism. More than 35,000 people have condemned the government’s actions, and called for upholding the democratic traditions of India.
In light of the above, we demand that:
  • Disha Ravi must be released immediately withdrawing all charges made against her. Warrants against Shantanu Muluk and Nikita Jacob must also be dropped, and no further action should be taken against youth who have been supporting the farmers’ movement and social and environmental justice causes.
  • An open dialogue must be initiated with youth environmental and social action groups and their well-justified concerns about their futures, to come up with policies and programmes that can safeguard India’s present and future generations.
  • A national level, transparent review of legal provisions like sedition, and of laws like UAPA, must be initiated with the intent of replacing them with provisions and laws that help secure the people of India within a framework of constitutionally endowed democratic rights.
  • All processes of decision-making on development, environment and livelihoods must be deeply democratised, ensuring the core involvement of vulnerable communities and sections (including women, youth, ‘disabled’, and LGBTQ+), and affected or interested citizens.

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

Pradeep Bhattacharya, who spent his life for the cause of working masses, rational thinking

By YS Gill*  At 11:30 pm on May 3, 2021, I lost my best friend and comrade Pradeep Bhattacharya. He spent his life dedicated to the cause of the working masses and rational thinking. A person of thorough scientific outlook and a well-read student of Marxian thought, he was a walking encyclopedia and could speak on a wide variety of topics from art and culture to science, philosophy, history and politics.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Despite crisis, Modi's Hindutva strategy 'increased' mass base in society and polity

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Narendra Modi and his RSS brethren can qualify as masters of fake claims. There is a long lists of lies spread by RSS, BJP and their IT cell workers. It is not a personality disorder or lying with fear. They are trained to defend Modi and his government’s decisions in whatever possible way. They defended demonetisation by arguing that it is “an important step” in his fight against black money and corruption.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”