‘Conspiracy to wage war against India’: Details of FIR in Disha’s arrest

·5 min read
‘Conspiracy to wage war against India’: Details of FIR in Disha’s arrest

The first information report (FIR) filed by the Delhi police under which climate activist Disha Ravi was arrested from Bengaluru was accessed by her lawyers on Tuesday — two days after her arrest. It mentioned the ‘toolkit’ or Google document disseminating information about farmer protests, and stated that it “contains a detailed plan of a large conspiracy to wage a economic, social, cultural, and regional war against India.” It also mentioned two organisations including the “banned terrorist organisation Sikhs for Justice and Poetic Justice Foundation". While several parts of the Google document used for organising around farmers’ protest are quoted in the FIR, it does not specifically quote any section to substantiate the claim that the toolkit attempted to ‘wage a war on India’.

The FIR stated that the tractor parade by farmers protesting Delhi on January 26 turned violent “as a result of the said instigation by elements behind this document and its toolkit.” However, the FIR did not specifically make a mention of the 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi who was arrested from her home in Bengaluru. It also did not specify the edits made by Disha Ravi in the Google document or explain her link to the tractor parade. The sedition law and a 1962 Supreme Court judgment specify that incitement to violence is a necessary condition for the law to be applied. 

Disha was charged under sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc), 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 120B (whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). 

“As for the contents of the above mentioned toolkits and the contained documents, prima facie an offence under sections 124A/153A/153/120B IPC is made out and hence a case under sections 124A/153A/153/120B IPC may please be registered,” the FIR stated. It added that the violence that took place in Delhi near the Red Fort on January 26 was a ‘pre-planned conspiracy’ to bring ‘hatred or contempt’ towards the government, ‘ill-will’ between different groups and provocation of riots. 

Disha's arrest is the first by the Delhi police in connection with the Greta toolkit case. Toolkits are nothing but Google Docs or online word documents that contain basic information on any issue, tweet suggestions and information on what hashtags to use and whom to tag on social media, and are a regular inventory while organising protests online. Various forms of toolkits are also used by social media teams of political parties as well when they need to plan a particular social media campaign

The FIR claimed that fake news on mass police resignations were being spread on social media. “Further, during social media monitoring on 04.02.2021 it came to notice that the link of a Google document that has been accidentally shared on Twitter contains a detailed plan of a large conspiracy to wage an economic, social, cultural, and regional war against India. The document says, “On 26 Jan, a major day of globally coordinated actions Show your support at (unclear) physical locations. Wherever you are, either find protests happening in your city/state/country and participate in large or small numbers or organise one. In addition to the options below, you are encouraged to organise solidarity protests either near Indian embassies, near your local government offices’,” the FIR read.

It stated that the Google document discussed ways in which people can support the farmers protest in the month of February and mentioned actions people can take including recording videos, pictures and engaging in tweet storms. 

“Moreover, the said document talked about "more ways to participate (from 21-26 Feb 2021)" in which it encourages people to record videos and take pictures to support the protest and says that the same would be shown to protesters at protest sites. A section of the document titled "Prior actions" urges people to do a number of things, including a TweetStorm on 23rd January, physical actions near Indian embassies, government offices, etc on 26th Jan and most notably, point no.7 says "Watch out for (or join) the farmers march/parade (first of its kind) into Delhi and back to the borders on 26 Jan" among other things,” read the FIR. 

The FIR also mentioned the banned organisation Sikhs for Justice disrupted the farmers protest on January 26. “It is pertinent to mention that the secessionist banned organisation Sikhs for Justice based in the USA had declared a reward of USD 250,000 for waving secessionist flag at the India Gate on Republic Day 2021 which also contributed to the violence which happened as a result of the tractor rally,” it said. It is to be noted that while a flag was hoisted on one of the poles at Red Fort, it was not a Khalistani or secessionist flag, but rather the Sikh religious flag. 

It further added that the toolkit contained campaign material by Poetic Justice Foundation, a Canada based organisation. “A perusal of the said toolkit also revealed that it was promoting campaign material by Poetic Justice Foundation, a Canada based organisation that openly and deliberately shares posts on social media that tend to create disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities,” the FIR said.

“The accidentally shared confidential document lists a playbook of activities that were to take place during the tractor march held on Republic Day and other protests in Delhi and NCR. The document contains a detailed plan by the title : "Global day of action : Protesting for farmers on India's Republic Day January 26 2021". The documents contained in both the toolkits also have planned activities for 4th and 5th Feb 2021 in the form of a Twitter storm as well as on-ground action on 13th and 14th February,” it added.

In addition to the arrest of Disha Ravi, non-bailable warrants were issued against Mumbai-based lawyer Nikita Jacob and activist Shantanu Muluk.

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