NEW DELHI – A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to Disha Ravi, a 22-year-old climate activist, who was arrested on sedition charges for creating an online toolkit to help protesting farmers.
Judge Dharmender Rana said there was little to take away Ravi, a founder of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s “Fridays for Future” branch, in detention.
His arrest at his home in the southern town of Bengaluru earlier this month fueled criticism of the crackdown on dissent in the country.
Police said Ravi was involved in the production and dissemination of an action plan that sparked violence during farmers’ protests in Delhi. His lawyers said the arrest was illegal and there was nothing seditious in the toolbox.
“In view of the scarce and sketchy evidence on the record, I find no palpable reason to keep a 22-year-old in detention,” Justice Rana said outside a crowded courtroom.
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Ravi’s arrest came as the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to get farmers to quit a campaign that has drawn support in India and abroad.
Tens of thousands of farmers have camped on the outskirts of New Delhi in freezing cold since December, to protest new farm laws they say will hurt them for the benefit of big business.
The government says the reforms will lead to new investment in large, outdated markets for agricultural products.
Rana ordered that Ravi be given bail, subject to providing two bonds of 100,000 Indian rupees ($ 1,379.96) each.