An Indian court on Tuesday approved bail for a climate activist who was charged with incitement after distributing documents intended to help protest farmers’ organizations.
In the transition to nationalism under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the 21-year-old activist Disha Ravi’s case is the latest test of India’s judicial independence. Modi’s agricultural policy was at the core of the country’s farmers for months of protest.
Ms. Ravi was arrested at her home in the southern city of Bangalore on February 13. She was later accused of distributing an online instruction manual in the form of Google Doc, called a “toolbox,”
Her arrest aroused the outrage of former police officers, retired government officials and public intellectuals who accused Mr. Modi’s government of using the country’s law enforcement agencies to target political opponents.
Since November, thousands of farmers have been in concentration camps on the outskirts of the capital to protest a series of new laws that will eliminate a subsidy system that has protected them from the free market for decades .
Although the protests were basically peaceful, violence broke out in New Delhi on January 26. Dozens of farmers and policemen were injured and one person was killed.
Ms. Ravi’s activism was previously related to the climate movement initiated by the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. After Ms. Thunberg expressed solidarity with Indian farmers on Twitter, international activists claimed that the toolkit was a widely distributed document and attracted the attention of the Indian authorities.
The Delhi police investigated the violence during the January 26 protests, saying that the purpose of the document was to spread unrest and “defame” the country.
Ms. Ravi told the court: “If farmers’ protests were to be emphasized globally as inflammatory, then I would be better in prison.”
On Tuesday, Judge Damod Rana of the Delhi Conference Court said that there was no reason to detain Ms. Ravi and questioned the prosecution’s logic in linking the toolkit to violence.
The judge set Ms. Ravi’s bail at approximately 100,000 rupees (US$1,370), provided that she stays in Delhi.