Indian police arrest climate activist for supporting farmers

NEW DELHI (AP) — An Indian climate activist has been arrested for circulating a document on social media that allegedly incited protesting farmers to turn violent last month, leaving one protester dead and about 400 police officers injured during clashes in the Indian capital, police said Sunday.

Disha Ravi, 22, was arrested in the southern city of Bengaluru and appeared in a New Delhi court on Sunday, New Delhi police said in a statement.

The court sent her to police custody for five days to help in an investigation “into the criminal conspiracy related to the Toolkit document” that allegedly incited the farmers on Jan. 26, India’s Republic Day, police said.

Thousands of farmers stormed New Delhi’s historic Red Fort complex that day, posing a major challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government. Farmers demanding the repeal of new agricultural laws briefly took over the 17th century fort and hoisted a Sikh religious flag.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs condemned “vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda” after pop star Rihanna, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and Meena Harris, the niece of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, tweeted their support to the farmers on Feb. 3.

The Indian government says the new laws are necessary to modernize Indian farming.

The farmers say the laws will benefit corporations and leave them at their mercy for negotiating prices for their crops. Tens of thousands of farmers have been camping on the outskirts of New Delhi since the last week of November.

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