Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg's tweet on farmers' protest containing a 'toolkit', that talked about protests across the world over the issue and detailed the actions taken to support the protests, has sparked a controversy.
Thunberg had first tweeted the toolkit on Wednesday night but later deleted that tweet and uploaded an 'updated toolkit' on Thursday, claiming that the earlier document was outdated. The old document had supported the tractor rally on January 26 and had details of upcoming online and street protests.
As per the latest update, Delhi police has filed an FIR against the creators of the toolkit. "Preliminary enquiry has revealed that the toolkit in question appears to have been created by a pro-Khalistani Organisation 'Poetic Justice Foundation'," Special Commissioner of Police (CP), Praveer Ranjan said on Thursday.
It is being speculated that the document was a proof that an international conspiracy is being hatched to defame India and the central government over the ongoing farmers' protest.
What Earlier Document Had?
The tweet contained the link to an article titled 'Global Farmers' Strike - First Wave', further asked the reader to stand up against India's 'failing democracy and stand up against the unregulated corporatisation of the farming sector.
The document listed down 'Urgent actions', needed to be taken in February.
- Creating TwitterStorm on February 4, and 5, from 11 am - 2 pm
- To share photo/video messages by an email ID 'email@example.com'
Another point under urgent actions asked the volunteers to approach the government representatives, sign online petitions, and 'divest' from corporates like Adani and Ambani. It further encouraged people to organise on-ground protests near the closest Embassy, media houses or in front of the local government offices on February 13 and 14.
- Sharing solidarity photo/video messages shared by people up till January 25 through the same email ID.
- Conducting digital strikes with hashtag #AskIndiaWhy before January 26.
- Creating a TweetStorm on January 23 and 26.
On January 23, a Zoom meeting with Greens With Farmers' Youth Coalition representative from Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture was also organised. This was followed by an Instagram live session on the morning of January 26 with farmers at the Delhi borders, environment workers and activists.
The document further stated that individuals held protests near Indian embassies, government offices, media houses and Adani-Ambani offices globally.
Under the subhead 'How Can You Help?', the toolkit listed down ways one could support the ongoing protests in India, and encouraged volunteers to hold solidarity protests at the embassies, local offices and listed corporate houses, take part in TweetStorm, record video messages supporting the protests, holding a chart/poster/card with a solidarity message.
- The hashtags directed to be followed included #StandWithFarmers #AskIndiaWhy #FarmersProtest.
- All the pictures/video messages will be shown to farmers protesting at different border points
- Canada based website Poetic Justice Foundation and Greens with Farmers' Youth Coalition.
"While we are focusing on the 26th, you are encouraged to continue organising gatherings as and when possible – for this is not going to end anytime soon," the document said. The above information was dated for January 23 and 26.
The document further listed ways individuals could revise the United Kingdom's approach to aid India, including the Conceptual Framework on Agriculture and the UK-India Infrastructure Technical Cooperation Facility (ITCF), promoting contract farming. The document directed people to write, sign petitions to UK MPs in support of the protest.
It also asked the volunteers to tag their respective representatives and the UN to expose the brutality against the farmers.
The document further said that India has a history of human rights violation, violence, and cruel indifference for its most vulnerable citizens.
Various screenshots were shared, where parts of the document could be seen being edited and re-edited.
The updated toolkit uploaded by Thunberg was just a 1-page document. The document just briefed some resources that provide insight into Urgent Actions and Prior Actions. It encouraged people to tweet in support of the protests with similar hashtags, sign online petitions, reach out to government representatives, and organise on-ground protests.
The toolkit directed individuals to take action to 'divest' from fossil fuel industries. This time, it refrained from naming the corporate houses and people it had mentioned earlier.
The earlier document called out Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani and alleged them of manufacturing wealth. The document had alleged Modi-regime of exploiting people, lands and culture. It added the links to resources that claimed to detail the ways the corporates impacted people's daily lives. "The monopolists and oligopolists...hit them where it hurts," it read.
The updated document had no mention of the Zoom meetings and Instagram sessions that were organised with representatives of various alliances.
The document did have various provocative sentences, as mentioned earlier, but the hashtag #AskIndiaWhy was removed from the toolkit.
No additional information on corporate houses, ways of participating in on-ground protests were given.
A link similar to the toolkit was shared on WhatsApp groups last year, detailing prior actions that were taken in September. There were mentions of the visuals that could be used for tweeting, and creating a TweetStorm using hashtags #AntiFarmerBills #CorporateBhagaoKisanBachao.
The screenshots of the documents were widely shared on social media. It is unclear as to who initially made the toolkit consisting a list of actions to amplify farmers' voices online.
Netizens were outraged and retweeted the screenshots and urged the government to take actions against Thunberg and other people involved.