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Court in India extends detention of activist Ravi for farm protest

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A Delhi court on Friday approved a request by police on Friday to extend the detention of climate activist Disha Ravi, whom they accuse of insurgency for her alleged role in creating an online package aimed at help farmers protesting reforms.

Ravi, 22, who is part of an organization founded by Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg, appeared in court after her arrest in Bengaluru last weekend in a case that has raised concerns about a crackdown on disagreement.

Police say Ravi was involved in creating and sharing an online document containing advice to protesters. Police say the document sparked violence that erupted on Republic Day of India last month when farmers attacked the famous Red Fort in the old quarter of Delhi.

Police have registered a case of uprising against Ravi, who holds an eternal life.

This court returns the accused, Disha Ravi, to judicial detention for three days, said Judge Akash Jain.

Ravi did not speak for herself but denied the charges against her through her lawyer Siddarth Agarwal, arguing in court that police had no evidence to support them.

There is nothing against me, please consider this, Agarwal told the court on her behalf.

Lawyers and senior lawmakers have criticized the insurgency case, disputing allegations by police that the document in question sparked violence.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modis has been trying to get farmers to withdraw from their months-long protest on the outskirts of Delhi against three new laws to regulate the vast and outdated market of agricultural products.

It has offered to keep laws pending and lower some provisions.

But farmers want Modi to repeal the laws altogether and provide legal support for minimum price support for their produce, and their long campaign in the cold-eating Delhi has attracted a group of supporters at home and abroad.

Thunberg also wrote a post on Twitter linking to the document that police are investigating before withdrawing it. She has made no comment on the arrest of Ravis who is one of the leaders of her movement Friday for the Future (FFF).

Written by Sanjeev Miglani; Edited by Raissa Kasolowsky

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