A fortnight after being granted bail by Delhi court in a sedition case, Bengaluru climate activist Disha Ravi finally broke her silence. She said, "truth, no matter how long it takes, always reveals itself".
On Saturday, the 22-year-old Ravi who was arrested on February 13 by Delhi Police in connection with a Toolkit on the farmer protests that was tweeted by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg posted a four-page statement on Twitter and stated "to present a narrative that is my own"
She slammed the media trial that followed her arrest and said, "my autonomy was violated… by seekers of TRPs".
After spending 10 days in police and judicial custody, she recalled her experience at the Patiala House Courts.
Disha said, "As I stood in that courtroom, desperately searching for my lawyers, I came to terms with the fact that I would have to defend myself. I had no idea whether there was legal assistance available so when the judge asked me if I have anything to say, I decided to speak my mind. Before I knew it, I was sent to 5 days in police custody,"
She began her four-page statement mentioning, "All that feels far too unreal: Delhi's infamous smog; the cyber police station; Deen Dayal Hospital; Patiala House Court; and Tihar Jail. In all the years that someone had asked me where I see myself in 5 years, I would have never answered 'jail' but here I was."
"It's no surprise that in the days that followed, my autonomy was violated; my photographs were splashed all over the news; my actions were pronounced guilty — not in the court of law, but on flat screens by seekers of TRPs. I sat there, unaware of the many abstractions made of me in order to satiate their idea of me," said Ravi.
Speaking about her days in Tihar Jail, Ravi said, "At the end of the five days (19 February 2021), I was shifted to Judicial Custody for 3 days. In Tihar, I was aware of every second of every minute of every hour of every day. Locked in my cell, I wondered when it became a crime to think the most basic elements of sustenance on this planet were as much mine as theirs."
When Ravi was granted bail in February, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana had said "citizens are conscience keepers of government in any democratic Nation" and "cannot be put behind the bars simply because they choose to disagree with the State policies", and that the "offence of sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of governments".
Talking about activism, Ravi stated that "most people knew little or nothing about climate activism or climate justice".
She mentioned that she had inherited climate activism from her grandparents who are farmers by profession.
Ravi also said, "Climate Justice isn't just for the rich and the white. It is a fight alongside those who are displaced; whose rivers have been poisoned; whose lands were stolen; who watch their houses get washed away every other season; and those who fight tirelessly for what are basic human rights. We fight alongside those actively silenced by the masses and portrayed as 'voiceless' because it is easier for savarnas to call them voiceless. We take the easy way out and fund saviourism rather than amplify the voices on the ground."
Ravi thanked all those who supported her and mentioned that she was privileged to get pro bono legal assistance.
"The immense outpour of love from the people gave me strength. I am grateful for everyone who stood by me. The past few days have been beyond painful, yet I know that I am one of the privileged. I was lucky enough to have pro bono legal assistance but what of all those who do not? What of all those still in jail whose stories are not marketable? What of the marginalized that are not worthy of your screen time? What of those who face the world's brazen indifference?" said Ravi.
Ravi ended her statement while talking about her ideas, truth and the need to continue this fight.
"Although their physical forms are trapped behind bars because of our collective silence, their ideas continue to live on as will the united resistance of the people. Ideas do not die. And, truth, no matter how long it takes, always reveals itself," said Ravi.
Ravi also added a quote by tribal rights activist Soni Sori and concluded saying, "We are threatened every day, our voices crushed, but we will continue to fight."