Story Pitch

News. Views. Reviews.

Greta Thunberg toolkit

Greta Thunberg toolkit: Why did it create storm in India?

First, she tweeted it. Then, deleted it. Now an updated toolkit has surfaced on Twitter, shared by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, which has created a massive storm in India. Hours after she shared the ‘updated toolkit’ on Thursday, the police registered an FIR against its ‘unknown’ creators. The police clarified that no one (including Greta Thunberg) has been named in the FIR, but an investigation has been initiated and social media platforms are under watch. Over 300 handles have been identified for spreading hateful and malicious content.

What is this toolkit? And how did it turn a conspiracy tool against India in the wake of farmer protests? If you go by the dictionary, it should be a set of tools, especially one kept in a bag or box and used for a particular purpose. But in the digital era, you have all kinds of toolkits available online/offline to either build something or fix something. Here Wikipedia has a list of toolkits, but mark my word, this is not all that human beings have.

Full details of deleted toolkit tweet

Likewise, Greta Thunberg offered a toolkit for help on Twitter (on 3 February 2021), just after Barbadian singer Rihanna with her tweet drew attention to the farmer protests in India, expressing her solidarity with the protesters. The toolkit tweet had a link to a document named ‘Global Farmers’ Strike – First Wave’, asking the readers to ‘stand up against India’s failing Democracy’ and ‘unregulated corporatisation of the farming sector’.

Skimming through it one comes across calls for ‘Urgent actions’ like creating a Tweet Storm on 4 and 5 February, sharing photos and videos on email id ‘[email protected]’, approaching govt representatives, signing online petitions, ‘divesting from corporates like Adani and Ambani’, organising protests near the closest Indian embassy, media houses, govt offices on 13 and 14 February.

Then a list of ‘Prior Actions’ followed in the toolkit document which called for sharing solidarity photo/video messages by 25 January on the same email ID, and conducting digital strikes with hashtag #AskIndiaWhy before 26 January, creating a Tweet Storm 23 January onwards tagging PMO India and Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare.

Fresh Arrivals | Wireless Headphones | Order Online:

The toolkit document also spoke of ‘Ask your Questions’ Zoom session on 23 January, Instagram live session with farmers at the Delhi borders, environment workers and activists on 26 January, physical actions near Indian embassies, govt offices and media houses and watch out for (or join) the Farmers’ March in Delhi on 26 January. 

Further, the toolkit read ‘how people could help’ with their participation in protests and Tweet Storm. 

Even though Greta Thunberg soon deleted the toolkit tweet, it had been downloaded, captured in snapshots by many. She deleted it because it was outdated. Evidently, the document shared by her on 3 February 2021 a number of times sought support for the 26 January event in Delhi which had already taken place by then. 

FIR after outrage over toolkit tweet

But the document triggered an uproar with hashtags floating on social media sites against the environmental activist claiming that she was exposed and a sinister plot behind the Red Fort incident was uncovered.

Also Read: Mann Ki Baat: What PM said on Republic Day violence

According to Delhi Police, the toolkit was created by pro-Khalistani forces. And a case with sedition charges was registered for spreading disaffection against the government of India. The police tweet regarding the FIR read, “Delhi Police has taken cognizance of a toolkit document found on a social media handle that predates and indicates a copycat execution of a conspiracy behind the January 26 violence. The call was to wage economic, social, cultural and regional war against India.” 

The case was filed in the national capital after Greta Thunberg posted another tweet that read: ‘here’s an updated toolkit by people on the ground in India if you want to help’. She added, ‘They removed their previous document as it was outdated.’

What is there in updated toolkit

The updated toolkit starts with the background of the farmer protest and farm laws in India before appealing for urgent actions like tweets in their support, call/email to govt representatives, online petitions and divesting from fossil fuel industries.

This time they refrained from naming Ambani and Adani. In addition to that, the new document called for organising an on-ground action near the closest Indian embassy, media house or govt office on 13/14 February 2021 and share pictures on social media with the hashtag #FarmersProtest #StandWithFarmers.

The list of prior actions in the updated toolkit, similar to the previous one, asked for sharing solidarity photo/video messages with hashtags, tagging tweets to PMO India, Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, heads of state and institutions like IMF, WTO and World Bank. However, this time email ID ‘[email protected]’ was not mentioned to share photo/video messages.