NEW DELHI: Delhi Police first invoked provisions under the anti-terrorism law against a website run by “Fridays for Future” protesting against proposed changes in norms for green clearances, only to withdraw them and send a modified notice, drawing flak from activists, report Vishwa Mohan & Anam Ajmal.
The U-turn came in the context of a complaint filed by environment minister Prakash Javadekar as his inbox was being flooded by emails with the subject similar to “EIA2020” (Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2020).
The emails were sent by thousands of activists opposing the proposed amendment to the green rules. Since the content of the emails was linked to the environment website run by a collective “Fridays for Future” (FFF), Delhi Police’s cyber crime unit special cell got it blocked on July 10.
The FFF website carried content claiming to generate public awareness around the draft EIA notification, which has proposed easing certain green norms. Delhi Police sources said that the charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act were a “goof-up” which was corrected once it was brought to the notice of senior officers.
Amid a flood of criticism over the action, Delhi Police issued a “clarification” on Thursday, stating that they had “inadvertently” invoked UAPA to block the website.
Asked about Javadekar’s complaint with regard to receiving multiple emails, environment ministry spokesperson Gaurav Khare said, “Draft EIA Notification,2020 is in public domain. Any suggestions and comments can be sent at the official mail provided for the purpose i.e. eia2020-moef [email protected] till August 10. How is spamming a minister’s personal mail with a lakh mails justified?”
The ministry did not comment on Delhi Police’s move, merely saying it could better be clarified by the latter.