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Tool-kits of fascism

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Tool-kits of fascism
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Disha Ravi and Greta Thunberg (file images)

Greta Thunberg, the 18-year old Swedish environmental activist, is a prominent voice talking and interacting with the world on the harms of global warming and climate change, thereby paving a new path in current environmental politics. The lone struggle of the Swedish girl to restore eve nature and the climate we are losing is unparalleled. The protest she launched in September 2018 under the banner 'School strike for climate', stood out as the most significant environmental movements the world has witnessed. As students left the classroom to join Greta in the streets, the flare spread to other parts of the world as well. Greta's speeches were widely circulated on social media. She gained the opportunity to lead the protest conducted by environmental activists outside the European Union Parliament in Brussels and also to address the World Economic Forum in Davos. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Her speech at the British Parliament paved the way for the declaration of a climate emergency in the country. It is only natural that Greta extended her support to the farmers' protests in India as there is no basis for environmental politics leaving behind the environment's watchdogs. However, the government is now portraying that solidarity as a global conspiracy and seeking to criminalise everyone who took-up Greta's call.

The farmers' protests are moving ahead with resolve against all threats and pressures posed by the state. The ruling establishment's attempt to dismantle the protests by infiltrating their own lackeys into the ranks of the protests failed. Barbed wire fences and barricades, unseen on even conflict-prone borders, have been installed in the capital city to counter the protests. Despite that, the protests were spreading to other parts of the country. It was at this point that Greta's solidarity message came via Twitter. She announced her solidarity together with a tool-kit with guidelines on various ways of expressing solidarity with the protests. This is normal globally; there is nothing unusual about this. However, many including union ministers framed the post as a conspiracy against the country. They presented Greta's tool-kit as proof for the state's earlier allegations that the protests are receiving support from foreign nations and there is a massive mobilisation on social media. A case has been registered against those who circulated the tool-kit online. Three activists, including the recently arrested Disha Ravi have been arrested in the tool-kit case. 21-year-old Disha Ravi is a proponent of the green politics put forth by Greta in India. Like Greta, her interventions for the environment has received public attention. Disha, hailing from a family of farmers, used the tool-kit to express solidarity. However, she has been arrested under charges, including sedition. As per reports, the judicial procedures that must be completed during an arrest were not followed in Disha's arrest. On top of all this, authorities have also raised allegations that they are associated with Khalistan.

The government has employed the tool-kit of fascism to suppress the strong voices of democracy from Disha and others. The basic strategy of fascism to overturning dissent is to demonise them. This trend has been there from day one of Modi's government. If at the beginning it was a bit covert and concealed, now it has become an incarnation of overt violence. Last year, the same tool-kit was employed on CAA protestors. The only difference is that while farmers' got labelled as Khalistani terrorists, Shaheen Bagh protestors were labelled infiltrators from Pakistan. Dissenting media voices were silenced in the same way. It is on the strength of this tool-kit that journalists, including Siddique Kappan on the way to report on Hathras gang rape victim's family, were arrested. No different was the plot of Yogi's police while arresting Campus Front national secretary Rauf Shariff alleging ties with was arrested a few days back by the Yogi police. It is imperative that this dangerous politics that seeks to dispel even faint voices of disagreement, is exposed. The protests demanding the release of those including Disha should cover that path too.


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TAGS:Farmer protests Greta 
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