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Protect free speech and accountability, nation-wide support pours in for Teesta Setalvad


By Team FI
Support is pouring in for Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand following the CBI raids on their residence that began on Tuesday, 13th July. Social activists have been alleging that the Hindu nationalist party BJP’s Narendra Modi led Government has been repeatedly attacking Setalvad and her organsiation for helping the victims of Gujarat violence that shook the secular conscience of the country in 2002. Human rights activists and civil rights organizations have alleged that the Gujarat violence was orchestrated by Modi who was then the Chief minister of Gujarat. One of the ex ministers of the then Modi state government in Gujarat is currently serving jail term for her involvement in the riot that claimed about 3000 lives.

Feministsindia is compiling statements issued by organizations in support of Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand.

We, the concerned citizens and activists stand by Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand & their organisations.
We accept the challenge to counter war against Justice and Democracy unleashed by the Modi Government and the Indian state.

Rohit Prajapati and Trupti Shah, Activists
The Narendra Modi led Union Government and the Indian State has declared war against Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and their organisations as they are fight to seek justice for the victims of Gujarat Carnage 2002. Inspite of all the means adopted by the Modi Government to sabotage the process of Justice, Mr. Narendra Modi even as Gujarat Chief Minister with a pliable bureaucracy at his disposal was unable to defend themselves legally and morally. In his new avatar now as the Prime Minister, the Modi Government and Indian state has declared their war against Justice. We, the concerned citizens and activists accept the challenge.

This Modi Government’s continuous harassment of Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and their organisations is de-facto war against Justice and also against all such organisations and activists who have taken up the struggle to defend the cause of Justice, Human Rights on various people’s issues.

We, the concerned citizens and activists stand by Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand & their organisations and accept the challenges of Modi Government and Indian State and are determined to continue our protest in peaceful and democratic manner.

It is time for all movements, organisations and activists to give a united fight to this Modi Government and Indian State’s war against Justice. It is time to show our united strength against the fascist forces.

We, the concerned citizens and activists resolve to continue our fight for Justice and Truth, to uphold the values of Human Rights, to stand up and speak-out for the oppressed against injustice of all kinds, unafraid of all consequences.

People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism : Press Statement
PADS strongly condemns the CBI raids of 14 July 2915 at the premises of social activist Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand, Gulam Mohammed Peshimam and office of Sabrang Communications and Publishing in Mumbai. These raids are undertaken for purely vindictive reasons given the assurances of complete cooperation and submission of thousands of pages of documents to the CBI. It is by now an open secret that activists working for justice and truth with regard to the pogrom called ‘Gujarat Riots’ have earned the hatred and animosity of the Modi government; which does not hesitate to employ official state power to indulge in a witch-hunt.

Setalvad and Anand set up Sabrang Communications and began publishing Communalism Combat in 1993, and not after 2002. It was this company that published the Justice Srikrishna Commission Report on the Mumbai communal riots of 1992-1993 at a time when the state government would not make it available to the public. The state not only fails in its constitutional duty to protect all citizens from unlawful deprivation of life and liberty under Article 21, but hounds and intimidates all those who seek to uphold human rights and democratic values.

It may also be noted that a senior Public Prosecutor, Rohini Salian, has accused the NIA of showing a bias in favour of certain persons accused of terrorist crimes. None other than the respected Julio Rebeiro, retired Police Commissioner of Punjab, has asked the public to take serious note of what Ms Salian has alleged. Furthermore, a Gujarat special judge, Ms Jyotsna Yagnik, stated in May this year that she has received 22 threats since retirement, on account of her role in convicting those responsible for the Naroda Patiya massacre in 2002. Her security cover was not enhanced, but scaled down.

It is also noteworthy that the final hearings in the Zakia Jafri Criminal Revision Application are due to begin on July 27. Mrs Jafri seeks to make top-level politicians, including the then Gujarat chief minister, and top-level policemen, including the present Commissioner of Police, Shivanand Jha, former joint CP, Crime Branch, AK Sharma (now in the CBI ) answerable for criminal and administrative culpability for their role in 2002.

Seen together, in their entirety, the above facts are a cause for grave concern to all Indian citizens. They portend nothing less than an undeclared Emergency. Lovers of democracy should resist the ruthless campaign of intimidation unleashed against Sabrang Communications. PADS demands that the Union Government abandon its hostile and vindictive stance towards human rights defenders and concentrate on upholding the rule of law and providing justice to innocent Indian citizens who have fallen victim to bloodthirsty communal politics.