John Kerry Praises Climate Activist and Right Wing’s Bête Noire Disha Ravi During his India Visit
- The U.S. climate envoy said he welcomes the kind of activism the 22-year-old has displayed.
President Biden’s climate envoy John F. Kerry has praised Indian climate activist Disha Ravi and welcomed the “kind of activism” she displayed, the Indian Express reported. Kerry was speaking to the Indian media on April 8, during his India visit, and talking about the role of young climate activists and how governments can safeguard their rights or encourage them.
“Human rights are always a critical issue to the United States… Young people have been key to pushing a lot of adults to do what adults are supposed to do… I personally welcome that kind of activism,” he said. Replying to another question on Ravi, Kerry noted that in the recent U.S. presidential election, climate change was one of the factors for voters. “The first time that I can remember since 1970, probably, the environment, climate crisis were voting issues… And young people led that charge.”
Ravi, 22, was arrested at her home in Bengaluru on Feb. 13 for her connection with an online document related to the ongoing farmer protests, which the police claimed was evidence of a co-ordinated international conspiracy against India. She was granted bail on Feb. 23, after a court in Delhi observed the evidence against her “was scanty and sketch.”
The Mount Carmel College student took to Twitter after her release and spoke of her arrest for the first time. “In all the years that someone had asked me where I see myself in 5 years, I would have never answered ‘jail’ but here I was,” she wrote. “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.”
Ravi’s arrest garnered global attention and global leaders and personalities raised their voice in solidarity with Ravi, saying that supporting farmers’ protests is no reason to arrest anyone. Her supporters expressed anger and disbelief, calling Ravi’s arrest “shocking” and a clear show of “harassment and intimidation.” Some saw her arrest as an extension of the authorities’ attack on free speech in India.
Meena Harris, Vice-President Kamala Devi Harris’ niece has spoken out strongly against Ravi’s arrest Harris, a Harvard-trained lawyer tweeted, “Indian officials have arrested another young female activist, 21 yo Disha Ravi, because she posted a social media toolkit on how to support the farmers’ protest. Read this thread about the sequence of events and ask why activists are being targeted and silenced by the government.”
International figures like poet Rupi Kaur, who has been supporting the farmers’ protest, have also come out in support of Ravi. Kaur tweeted, “Once Greta tweeted, India got intl backlash for their attack on farmers. Modi gov’t lost their minds & needed a diversion so they zeroed in on the toolkit. Suddenly a basic google doc was labeled a tool of sedition. Indian media got to work & crafted a conspiracy for the ages.”