World Indian climate activist granted bail in sedition case over farm protests
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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi, who was arrested for sedition over the creation of an online toolkit to help protesting farmers.
Judge Dharmender Rana said there was little to hold Ravi, a founder of the local chapter of Swedish climate crusader Greta Thunberg's movement, in custody any longer.
Her arrest at home in the southern city of Bengaluru earlier this month stoked criticism of repression of dissent.
Indian climate activist linked to Thunberg wins bail
An Indian climate change activist was granted bail on Tuesday 10 days after being arrested for allegedly creating a "toolkit" to help the country's farmer protests that was tweeted by Greta Thunberg. The arrest of 22-year-old Disha Ravi on charges of sedition -- which can carry a sentence of life imprisonment -- sparked fierce criticism from activists and India's opposition politicians. Police alleged that Ravi was a "key conspirator" in theThe arrest of 22-year-old Disha Ravi on charges of sedition -- which can carry a sentence of life imprisonment -- sparked fierce criticism from activists and India's opposition politicians.
Police said she was involved in producing and disseminating an action plan that sparked violence during farmers' protests in Delhi. Her lawyers said the arrest was illegal and there was nothing seditious in the toolkit.
"Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence on record, I do not find any palpable reason for keeping a 22-year-old in custody," Rana told a packed courtroom.
Ravi's arrest came as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has been trying to get farmers to back down from a campaign that has drawn support around India and from abroad.
Tens of thousands have been camped out on the outskirts of New Delhi in bitter cold since December to protest new agricultural laws they say will hurt them to the benefit of large corporations.
The government says the reforms will bring new investment in the vast and antiquated agriculture produce markets.
Rana ordered the granting of bail to Ravi subject to furnishing two sureties of 100,000 Indian rupees ($1,379.96) each.
(Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty and Danish Siddiqui in NEW DELHI; Writing by Zeba Siddiqui; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Andrew Cawthorne)
Experts feared India's farming protests would be COVID superspreader events. Poverty, misinformation and a younger population may explain why cases plummeted instead. .
Mass gatherings such as the farmers' protests didn't become the superspreader events experts feared. COVID cases have steadily fallen, raising hopes the country is close to achieving herd immunity. One expert says misinformation may have been an "accidental game changer" at encouraging mingling. Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories. When Indian farmers began gathering to protest in November 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, experts predicted these would be superspreader events.