Hilariously, climate activist Greta Thunberg substantiates India’s farmer agitation. The farmers demand government guarantees for a agriculture structure that is environmentally ruinous and radiates gigantic carbon. The government’s appropriate response to Thunberg should be “how dare you! ”Instead, the government has invented an elaborated international plot theory, connecting Thunberg, popping star Rihanna, and several hundreds of activists, Indian and international, with Khalistani terrorists trying a Sikh state. This is as comic as Thunberg’s follies.The government says activists are using a “toolkit” to spread their message, making this sound like a dreaded instrument of sedition. Sorry, toolkits simply render different backgrounds, talking phases, minds for mobilisation, catchy mottoes and hashtags. As a World Bank consultant, I formerly made a toolkit for publicity campaigns in African nations to promote community-driven development.Similar tactics are used by election manifestos and even advertising campaigns. To call toolkits a plan to wage “social, cultural and economic war” against India is as crazy as the plot theories of QAnon in the US. But just as QAnon cannot be chuckled away , nor can the government campaign. Young activists — such as Disha Ravi, a climate campaigner who edited and shared Thunberg’s “toolkit” on social media — are being arrested for somehow being linked to Khalistanis. India’s constitutions on sedition and unlawful activities have long been misused to harass nonconformists. In addition, India is making a fool of itself internationally by linking climate activists with Khalistanis through toolkits in the social media. Every extremist group tries to cash in on existing agitations. Khalistanis support the farm fermentation and toolkits for their private objectives. That does not stir the whole agitation Khalistani.During the 1975 -7 7 Emergency, Naxalite terrorists resisted Indira Gandhi no less than Opposition politicians who the hell jailed. Did that make all jailed politicians terrorists? Ridiculous! Indira Gandhi’s attempt to portray all Opposition parties as seditious anti-nationals miscarried miserably. Voters had voted in favour of the supposed conspirators and shed her out.Let us return to Thunberg’s absurdities. Mohinder Gulati, former CEO of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All campaign, says farmers around Delhi burn 100 million tonnes of crop stubble annually, producing 140 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, 12 million tonnes of other polluting gases, and 1.2 million tonnes of particulate matter. Smog in Delhi and neighbouring areas chokes 50 million people, closes academies, and causes irreversible lung damage to 2.2 million children and many adults. Burning stubble “also destroys the nitrogen and carbon potential of the clay, kills microflora and fauna beneficial to the soil, removes a significant portion of organic matter, and unavoidably leads to increased apply of chemical fertilizers.”Laws have been enacted to stop this practice but the farmers of the north-west simply refuse, and politicians dare not arrest them for fright of losing polls. The farmers want to earn a few more rupees through early sowing of the winter wheat crop after reaping the summer rice crop and burning the rice stubble quickly clears their fields. They don’t give a damn about killing and mutilating millions. Yet Thunberg and Rihanna support this outrage! Political competition for farm referendums necessitates farmers in the north-west get free electricity for pumps. Excessive tubewell irrigation has lowered the water table disastrously. First, drinking water wells operated dry, followed by shallow tubewells of small farmers. Merely the deepest tubewells of the richest farmers, applying the most electricity and emitting the most carbon , now pump water. Punjab is a low-pitched rainfall region that simply should not grow rice, but free electricity makes rice production highly profitable while destroying aquifers. The farm agitators insist on guarantees of free electricity and government purchase of all the rice they render. Why does Thunberg support such horrific environmental extermination? Modi’s farm reforms aim to create a modern agricultural structure where farmers switch to less water-intensive perishable harvests. This expects massive investment in warehousing and cold chains, plus contract farming to link tens of thousands of small-time farms to large-scale processors. Harvests must be grown, harvested, transported, stored, and processed seamlessly. Gulati says India yearly wastes 67 million tonnes of food worth $14 billion which could feed 100 million people. Pre-harvest and post-harvest damages are enormous, and 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide been incorporated in the waste.Gulati says the creaking government system has failed to check this, and needs replacing by “a competitive, efficient and well-regulated private sector.” But the farmers insist on the status quo. Thunberg, are you listening? None of it is possible to remotely justify the arrest and harassment of Disha Ravi and other activists. Connecting Thunberg and Rihanna with Khalistanis has made India a joke globally. Arresting activists now risks constructing it a human rights pariah.
Read more: economictimes.indiatimes.com