I was meant to be at Cop26, but India’s justice system denied my civil liberties

I followed the rules but I was subjected to unnecessary court proceedings, criticised and unfairly compared to liquor barons by the police, and I still had my passport withheld, writes Disha Ravi

Saturday 13 November 2021 13:52 GMT
<p>India will hit net zero emissions by 2070, PM Narendra Modi told the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow</p>

India will hit net zero emissions by 2070, PM Narendra Modi told the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow

Standing in the police station in Bengaluru, I listened to the senior police officer berating my mother for raising a rebel who refuses to stay silent. He had plenty of advice on how mothers should raise daughters to follow the system.

After he was done, he shifted focus to me and began to compare me to Vijay Mallya, the liquor baron of India who fled the country to escape INR 9000 crores’ worth of debts. I marvelled inwardly at how he could compare a billionaire to a climate justice activist. He implied that I was applying for a passport because I too wanted to flee, failing to acknowledge that getting a passport and leaving the country are two very different things.

I had never dreamed of leaving India, let alone fleeing the country. This was simply because the zeros at the end of the price of the plane ticket were more zeros than my family made in six months. Even if money hadn’t been an issue, I wanted to stay in my country.

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