- As the world’s largest democracy, the actions of force by the Indian government against a young peaceful protester are concerning.
In an era of evolving forms of protest and action, a 21 year old woman, Disha Ravi, was arrested for simply sharing a document online. A “toolkit,” filled with resources to help people take action and support the farmers’ protests occurring in India. This GenZer is now in jail for an action that has become a common form of social engagement in movements like Black Lives Matter and the fight against climate change.
For many months, farmers in India have been protesting against recently passed agricultural laws, stating that they will have negative effects on their lives and agricultural practice. In support of these farmers, Ravi compiled resources and hashtags into a document, urging people to partake in simple actions like signing petitions and calling government representatives. The “toolkit” gained visibility after being tweeted out by prominent climate activist Greta Thunberg. Within 24 hours of the tweet, authorities in Delhi announced a criminal investigation regarding the origins of the “toolkit.”
Viewing the farmers’ protests and the “toolkit” as acts of sedition against India, authorities arrested Ravi and placed her in police custody. The news of the young activist’s arrest led to outrage across the world, reaching many high profile individuals. American figures like Vice President Harris’ niece Meena Harris expressed their anger and members of opposition parties in India expressed their disbelief, with many stating that the actions of the police went against the ideals of democracy. Ravi’s arrest has been particularly distressing to young activists, with many signing petitions calling for her release.
As the world’s largest democracy, these actions of force by the Indian government against a young peaceful protester are concerning. These events surrounding the farmers’ protests seem to mirror the recent movements for racial justice in the Western world. Many peaceful protests against police brutality and racial injustice in America have been met with armed officers and troops, often physically harming young protesters.
As GenZers start to educate themselves about social issues and take action against injustices in the world, many are faced with threats and violence, in countries that pride themselves on supporting free speech. For a nation whose father is Mahatma Gandhi, it is shocking to see the Indian government treating peaceful protestors in such a manner. From North America to Asia, young people are the future of the world. The arrest of Disha Ravi by the Delhi police does nothing to instill fear in protestors. Instead, this show of force further inspires young people to stand up to injustice and work to uphold democracy around the world.
Ishani Peddi is a high school senior from Irvine, California. She has been writing as long as she can remember and published a fictional work in middle school. A passionate poet, who has won numerous literary competitions, Ishani is involved in various clubs and organizations within her school and community. She is the Communications Director of the Georgia High School Democrats, the Founder & Editor In Chief of SANCTUARY Publication, the Secretary of the Young Democrats of Georgia AAPI Caucus, and a Civil Air Patrol Cadet, to name a few.