Delhi Police register FIR against authors of 'toolkit to aid farmers protests' shared by Greta Thunberg

Published February 4, 2021
In this file photo, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in the rally ''Europe Climate Strike'' in Brussels, Belgium. — Reuters
In this file photo, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in the rally ''Europe Climate Strike'' in Brussels, Belgium. — Reuters

Delhi Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) Praveer Ranjan on Thursday said that Delhi Police have registered a first information report (FIR) against the authors of a "toolkit to aid farmers" that was shared by several people on social media, including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, clarifying, however, that it did not "name anybody".

Earlier today, several Indian media outlets reported that Delhi police had registered an FIR against Thunberg for her tweets on Wednesday in which she expressed solidarity with protesting farmers and shared a toolkit that sought to help people "better understand the situation and make decisions on how to support the farmers based on their own analysis".

Addressing a press conference today, Commissioner Ranjan said the Delhi police were "closely monitoring" social media platforms and had identified more than 300 accounts that were "being used to express sentiments against the Indian government [and] to spread disaffection among communities in the name of the farmers' protest".

"A document was uploaded by one particular account that is named toolkit," which was authored by a pro-Khalistan group, he said. "This document delineates an action plan which says a digital strike and a Twitter storm should be carried out after Jan 26" along with plans for physical protests, he added.

Referring to the incident on Jan 26, in which thousands of Indian farmers breached barricades to enter Delhi's historic Red Fort complex, he said it was a "copy of the plan in the document".

Therefore, the Delhi Police have registered a case against the authors which would be investigated by the cyber cell of the Delhi police, the police commissioner said.

"Nobody has been named in it," he iterated.

Twitter controversy

On Wednesday, US pop superstar Rihanna shared a CNN article on the demonstrations with her 100.9 million followers on Twitter, using the hashtag #FarmersProtest.

"Why aren’t we talking about this?!" she questioned.

Following Rihanna's tweet, several other people tweeted as well, including Thunberg who used the hashtags — #StandWithFarmers and #FarmersProtest — that were mentioned in the toolkit.

After the tweets garnered global support for the protesting farmers, India on Wednesday slammed the celebrities' comments as inaccurate and irresponsible and said vested interest groups were trying to build opinion against the country.

"Before rushing to comment on such matters, we would urge that the facts be ascertained, and a proper understanding of the issues at hand be undertaken," the Indian foreign ministry said.

Read: How one tweet from Rihanna on farmer protests got India incensed

Bollywood entertainers and sports stars, many of whom have long been silent on the farmers' protests and are known to toe the government's line, also tweeted in one voice.

Farmers protests

Tens of thousands of farmers have camped out on the outskirts of New Delhi for more than two months, demanding the withdrawal of new agricultural laws that they say benefit private buyers at the expense of growers.

The government of Prime Minster Narendra Modi says reform of the agriculture sector will bring opportunities for farmers.

The protests turned violent on Jan 26, when farmers broke into the historic Red Fort complex, with one protester killed and hundreds injured.

Talks between the government and the protest leaders have so far failed to achieve any breakthrough.

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