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‘Pronounced guilty by TRP seekers, not by court’: Disha Ravi on her arrest in ‘toolkit’ case

In a four-page statement, Disha Ravi said that her grandparents, who are farmers, indirectly inspired her climate activism. She also explained in detail why she has been supporting climate activism and backing the farmers' protest.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Bengaluru |
Updated: March 13, 2021 10:18:45 pm
Disha RaviDisha Ravi (Instagram: disharavii)

In her first statement released since her bail, 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi said on Saturday that the events of last month violated her autonomy and she was pronounced guilty not by a court, but by “seekers of TRP”.

In a four-page statement, she said that her grandparents, who are farmers, indirectly inspired her climate activism. She also explained in detail why she has been supporting climate activism and backing the farmers’ protest.


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A post shared by Disha 𓆉 (@disharavii)

“I had to bear witness to how the water crisis affected them, but my work was reduced to tree plantation drives and clean-ups which are important but not the same as struggling for survival,” she said in the statement.

Disha was picked up by the Delhi police on February 13 from her house in Chikkabanavara, which is 30 km away from Bengaluru city,  in connection with an online document or toolkit tweeted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg which supported the farmers’ protest. She was granted bail 10 days later by a Delhi court.

“I had coerced myself into believing that the only way I would be able to live through this was by tricking myself into thinking that this wasn’t happening to me — the police did not knock on my door on 13 February, 2021; they did not take my phone and laptop, and arrest me; they did not present me at Patiala House Court; the media personnel were not trying to find a place inside the room,” Disha said in her statement.

“As I stood in that courtroom, desperately searching for my lawyers, I came to terms with the fact that I would have to defend myself. I had no idea whether there was legal assistance available so when the judge asked me if I have anything to say, I decided to speak my mind. Before I knew it, I was sent to 5 days in police custody,” she added.

Writing about her experience in Tihar Jail, Disha wrote, “At the end of the five days (19 February 2021), I was shifted to Judicial Custody for three days. In Tihar, I was aware of every second of every minute of every hour of every day. Locked in my cell, I wondered when it became a crime to think the most basic elements of sustenance on this planet were as much mine as theirs.”

Highlighting how the television media, in its quest for TRPs, pronounced her guilty, she said, “It’s no surprise that in the days that followed, my autonomy was violated; my photographs were splashed all over the news; my actions were pronounced guilty — not in the court of law, but on flat screens by seekers of TRPs. I sat there, unaware of the many abstractions made of me in order to satiate their idea of me.”

She also thanked all who supported her when she was in jail and said that she was privileged and lucky to get pro bono legal assistance.

“But what of all those who do not? What of all those still in jail whose stories are not marketable? What of the marginalized that are not worthy of your screen time? What of those who face the world’s brazen indifference? Although their physical forms are trapped behind bars because of our collective silence, their ideas continue to live on as will the united resistance of the people. Ideas do not die. And, truth, no matter how long it takes, always reveals itself,” she added.

Earlier after getting bail, in an exclusive interview to Indian Express, Disha’s mother Manjula Nanjaiah had said, “This was difficult for anyone but when our children have not done anything wrong, why do we need to fear? We have to stand beside our children when they are fighting for truth and justice.”

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