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Disha Ravi: the 22-year-old climate activist accused of sedition

India goes one step further in its crackdown on freedom of expression

Disha Ravi: the 22-year-old climate activist accused of sedition

India goes one step further in its crackdown on freedom of expression

Disha Ravi: the 22-year-old climate activist accused of sedition

India goes one step further in its crackdown on freedom of expression

Disha Ravi: the 22-year-old climate activist accused of sedition

India goes one step further in its crackdown on freedom of expression

Democracy welcomes voices of dissent; authoritarianism crushes them.

Imagine Greta Thunberg arrested by the Swedish government. She’s been criticising political inaction over climate change, after all, and criticism of the government is sedition.

Too improbable? Of course. It could never happen. Sweden, after all, is a democracy. Democracies welcome voices of dissent and peaceful protest. They engage in dialogue with them, and sometimes even learn something. They respect everyone’s right to freedom of expression.

The arrest of Disha Ravi, a 22-year-old climate activist, is yet another warning signal of the end of Indian democracy. Ravi was arrested on 13th February at her home in Bangalore after sharing a document to help people support the farmers’ protests.

The document is a “toolkit” of ideas of how to show solidarity with the movement and engage in peaceful protest. Disha Ravi did not even write it herself; she only edited a couple of lines. Yet she has been charged with sedition. "The call was to wage economic, social, cultural and regional war against India," according to the police.

Today’s India is intimidated by a young woman’s online activism. Far from encouraging freedom of expression, Modi prefers to silence it altogether, taking strong measures to discourage others. To dissent is a criminal act.

This is not democracy.

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