Disha Ravi: Villain or Victim?

    23-Feb-2021   
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With malicious intent to cause irreparable harm to India, Mo Dhaliwal, a Canada-based pro-Khalistan activist, plotted criminal conspiracy with Disha Ravi and Nikita Jacob and Shantanu to create social media storm and amplify anti-India propaganda
 

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The Delhi police recently picked up Disha Ravi in connection with an FIR for links to a farmers’ protest toolkit put out by the teenage global climate activist Greta Thunberg. A day after Disha Ravi was arrested and sent to five days of police custody, the Delhi Police has now issued a non-bailable warrant against Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk.
 
The “Toolkit” conspiracy is undeniably global. Mo Dhaliwal, a Canadian citizen and the founder of pro-Khalistan Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF), contacted activist Nikita Jacob through his colleague Puneet, another Canadian citizen... A “Zoom” meeting before Republic Day was held between Mo Dhaliwal, Nikita, and Disha. The motive of the meeting was to create a Twitter storm ahead of 72nd Republic Day. They also tried to vitiate the atmosphere by misleading the public on the death of a farmer.
 
Reportedly, Disha Ravi is the editor of the Toolkit Google and a key conspirator in drafting, producing, and disseminating the document through a WhatsApp group. She, along with others, collaborated with the pro-Khalistan PJF to spread disaffection against the Indian State. Disha was the one who shared the Toolkit Doc with Greta Thunberg and subsequently asked Thunberg to remove the main document after its incriminating details accidentally got into the public domain.
 
If the evidence is exhaustive and conclusively proved in the court, then Disha Ravi is the “Villain” pursuing “Irregular Warfare” as per the “fiat” of foreign adversaries/agencies. Proven otherwise by her lawyers, she becomes a “victim” of Delhi Police.
 
As a veteran who fought three wars, Nagaland, Manipur, NEFA/Arunachal, J&K and Punjab, and pursuing national security affairs let me highlight that since 1984 India has been facing the brunt and fury of “Proxy War” that is now recognised as “Irregular Warfare”. Conventional and Nuclear Warfare is ruled out due to opposing sides’ deterrent capabilities with Nuclear Armageddon’s horror prospects.
 
What are the end objectives and means of “Irregular warfare”? The end objective is to erode an adversary’s power, influence, and legitimacy, thereby weakening its morale and will, while expanding its influence over the nation’s targeted people. Irregular warfare “favours indirect and asymmetric approaches” by adversaries—China and Pakistan.
 
The “means” or tools of statecraft that adversaries can use to shift the balance of power in their favour include: information operations (including psychological operations and propaganda), cyber operations, support to State and non-state partners, covert action, espionage, and economic coercion
 
When viewed from the above ubiquitous threat, the present crisis escalation—round the clock—funded and abetted by adversaries and non-state actors constitute a significant threat to India’s national security. Let none have doubts about the above score.
 
Biased Media Coverage
 
Most importantly, partisan media houses are the worst enemies. They are trying to push the narratives best suited to political parties’ interests instead of sticking to the facts. Thereby “divide the society and country” contra national security interests in today’s highly surcharged enveloping context and content. It is all in the name of “Freedom of Press” sans responsibility and liberal democracy.
 
Instead of corporate media outlets “telling the right story in our country”, they are hell-bent upon “dividing this country” to make profit by propagating their partisan narratives by indulging in slant coverage. All media houses are bloodthirsty for ratings.
 
Unfortunately, India is woefully unprepared for this type of competition—both at home and abroad.
 
The opposing narrative spread by partisan media houses is outright condemnation and outpouring of rage over Disha’s arrest—victim of government’s illiberal policy and political vendetta.
 
Not only opposition parties spearheaded by the Congress Party have slammed the arrest of 22-year-old girl activist and termed it “arrest of democracy.” Ironic but true, Imran Khan’s party, the PTI from Pakistan has joined the chorus of Indian opposition parties to condemn Disha’s arrest.
 
Add to them Meena Harris, lawyer, entrepreneur, author and niece of Kamala Harris, Vice-President of USA, who has not only voiced her support for the protesting farmers and raised the arrest of the rights activist Nodeep Kaur from a farmers’ protest site around Delhi but also alleged sexual assault in custody in the past, but has now expressed her outrage over Disha’s arrest.
 
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden’s lawyers have warned Meena Harris against using her aunt’s identity to promote her business ventures like references of Kamala Harris in her book “Phenomenal Woman.”
 
With ulterior motive, human rights activists of western countries have joined adversaries and non-state actors to conduct irregular warfare to divide and demoralise India—a la neo-Irregular Warfare.
 
Demystifying the Mystique
 
Who is Disha Ravi? Why has her arrest attracted a high decibel Indian media narrative? Disha Ravi, 22, a Business Administration graduate from Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru in 2018, and the founding members of the Indian chapter of Fridays For Future (FFF), global climate strike movement launched by Greta Thunberg’s Climate Campaign, has been staging a protest at her school every Friday on environmental issues in the past.
 
Tight-Lipped on Stubble Burning
 
At the outset, let me point out that either Greta or Disha Ravi or Meena Harris, claiming to be environmentalists and climate change activists have failed dismally to campaign against “stubble burning” in Punjab and Haryana but also from the other side of the border in Pakistan. Why were they silent?
Most importantly, why are they muted on the issue of excess fertiliser use and cultivation by flooding in Punjab, Haryana and Western UP that has dramatically reduced soil fertility and escalated “cancer” among the people.
 
Since they have kept quiet on the most burning issues of the region, their sudden involvement in farmers protests, particularly aided and abetted by Mo. Dhaliwal, Canadian pro-Khalistan activist, quite apparently raises doubts about their hidden motives! All for the sake of “Foreign Funds”.
 
“Activities of FFF India are done in conjunction with FFF International and campaigns collectively decided and voted before implementation,” say FFF India activists on condition of anonymity. FFF India’s activities include researching environmental issues, organising climate strikes in public spaces, online campaigns against projects considered detrimental to the environment, outreach work with local communities and schools to create awareness.
 
“FFF International does not have a single goal. Earlier, our goal was to declare a climate emergency. The countries that declared climate emergency did not act on it. That is when we decided we wanted climate justice, where the government prioritises climate action and ecological sustainability above all else. We do not have set demands, and we want to make different demands work for different countries,” Disha Ravi said last year.
 
Current email campaigns of FFF India include a demand for “ethical implementation of the National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC)”, a campaign for the protection of the Mollem forest area in Goa by cancelling “clearances for projects passing through the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Goa” and to save an elephant conservation zone in Uttarakhand by cancelling the “proposal for extension of the Jolly Grant runway”.
 
FFF India currently has around 150 activists with around 20-30 in Bengaluru. With its activity being largely volunteer-oriented, only a few activists are part of all activities, and others are volunteers who may be part of a few events.
 
In Agitation Mode
 
In an interview last year with US author and Professor Gayle Kimball, Disha Ravi stated. “In India, protests are a part of life since the Indian freedom struggle was rooted in peaceful protests. There are many protests on humanitarian issues, and religious issues and protests are very ingrained in Indian society. Social media has helped in recent days.”
 
According to Disha’s account to Kimball, the FFF India campaign materialised largely after she contacted like two-minded women from Bengaluru who were interested in the climate change campaign on the internet. She had stated “All our associations were formed through the internet—Instagram and other social media. We connected through mutual friends, and that is how we found each other. Most of us are women. I had not seen any of them before. Bangalore was the first, but simultaneously Mumbai and Delhi started. We did not want to do it in one city alone,” she said in the interview.
 
Disha also supported Green Peace campaigns in her early college days, and many of her friends describe themselves as eco-feminists, campaigners against abuse of women and social activists, and many climates issue Aarey to EIA, Goa to Dehradun. Disha was at the forefront to oppose the draft Environment Impact Assessment 2020 plan put out by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in March 2020. The campaign against the EIA 2020 plans led to the blocking of the website of FFF India and two other groups and the threat of a UAPA case in July 2020, which was later modified to an Information Technology Act, 2000 case and subsequently withdrawn.
 
Pseudo Activism
 
Disha Ravi also works as a culinary experience manager with GoodMylk, a company involved with making plant-based food accessible and affordable.
 
All those connected with the FFF International are operating in India under the “diktat or fiat” of foreign funding agencies in the garb of human rights activist, climate issues NGOs and known pro-Khalistan organisations.
 
Disha and her ilk/brood have no real concern for “real environmental/climate or human rights issues”. For example, the “foam” covers all lakes in Bengaluru year after year. Hardly, any concern for “water conservation” in Karnataka and the annual Cauvery water wars with neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Similarly, the pollution in Delhi. Of course, least concern for over 400 Delhi policemen injured by the ruthless assault on them by the violent “farm protestors”. Did any of them express any anguish on the above count?
 
Delhi Police have not revealed the last piece of conclusive evidence. Still, the case is in the investigation process. How many are involved, and the contra national security interests’ depth will only be known later! Till then, partisan media houses must stop indulging in cacophony over the issue based on incomplete, fake and fraud news coverage.
 
(The writer is a Hyderabad-based columnist and strategic analyst)