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A List of Activists Speak Up for India’s Prisoners of Conscience

The “concerned citizens of the world representing various human rights organisations” called for immediate release of Teesta Setalvad, R B Sreekumar, Sanjiv Bhatt, and Mohammed Zubair and all such prisoners languishing in Indian jails.

Team Clarion

PROMINENT human rights activists, intellectuals, journalists, artists and community leaders from all across the world came forward to strongly condemn the arrest of eminent human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and R B Sreekumar, Sanjiv Bhatt, who is already incarcerated in jail for over 18 months now, and journalist and fact checker Mohammed Zubair. Together, they have launched a broad-based alliance, Solidarity for the Prisoners of Conscience in India, making an appeal to right thinking people to stand in solidarity with their cause.
Calling the aforementioned human rights defenders Prisoners of Conscience in India, the “concerned citizens of the world representing various human rights organisations” called for immediate release of all such prisoners languishing in Indian jails.
A statement signed by the 260 global human rights activists under the aegis of forum, recalled the dark era of an Emergency, the 47th anniversary of which fell on June 25, 2022, when a government hijacked the whole edifice of the state. The ruling party and its leader treated the state as their personal estate.

Psychosis of fear
The statement further said, “It was the imposition of a highly concentrated apparatus of power on a fundamentally free and federal society, and the turning over of this centralised apparatus for personal vengeance and pursuit of raw political power. It was one fell swoop overtaking the whole country, spreading a psychosis of fear and terror.
“It was in this era when the Supreme Court of India gave the infamous judgment in Additional Divisional Magistrate (ADM) of Jabalpur Vs  Shivkant Shukla case (Habeas Corpus) that during an emergency, the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India to its citizens, including the right to life and personal liberty, shall stand extinguished.”
Drawing parallels between the Emergency of yore with the prevailing situation in the country today, it said, “This same horror is being repeated with a vengeance now by the government of the day and tragically being endorsed by the Apex Court, the Supreme Court of India. This is what has happened in the case of Zakia Jafri Vs the State of Gujarat, wherein after dismissing her appeal, the Supreme Court has made totally unwarranted observations against those who worked the case to seek justice.”
Putting the events in sequence, the statement recounted how the court went on to assail them for their “audacity” to “question the integrity of every functionary” and their motives were tarred as “ulterior design”. The court observed that “all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceed in accordance with law”.
Within hours of this Emergency-type judgment of the Supreme Court, the Gujarat Police swung into action in Emergency-type ruthlessness. They forcibly entered the house of human rights activist and lawyer, Teesta Setalvad, in Mumbai, assaulted her, and took her into custody on Jun. 25, 2022 (Emergency anniversary day).

Cruel action

The action is so cruel that Teesta has, in a written complaint stated, “I fear seriously for my life.” The First Information Report (FIR) under which she has been detained accuses the former Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of Gujarat, R B Sreekumar, and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Sanjiv Bhatt (already in jail in a concocted case), and activist Teesta Setalvad of conspiring to fabricate evidence, tutor witnesses and abuse the process of law.
Soon after, Mr Sreekumar was arrested from his Ahmedabad, Gujarat residence.
They said the FIR casts its net very wide and makes the case that the time period of the offence ranged from January 1, 2002 to June 25, 2022. In effect, every effort in pursuit of justice for the victims of 2002, be it petitions filed in the High Court, Supreme Court, or the Magistrates’ Court is sought to be criminalised. The process, which should have made the state accountable in establishing guilt of those accused of serious crimes, is tarred with a criminal brush by criminalising the quest for justice by the victims of the Gujarat pogroms. It also seeks to deter citizens from holding the state accountable for enabling violence in future, and in effect conveys that the state can do no wrong.

Crackdown on journalists

Immediately after these two arrests, the government went on to arrest a prominent journalist, Mohammed Zubair, the co- founder of the fact checking website AltNews.In. This too is reminiscent of the crackdown on journalists during the Emergency.
“What the present government is doing,” it said “is Governance by Fear in its rawest form. On the anniversary of the Emergency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have the habit of issuing statements condemning the Emergency as a dark chapter in the history of independent India, one imposed to quell dissent and free voice. But both of them are doing much worse now, and the Setalvad case is a typical example.”
Condemning the prosecution of the rights activists as acts of duplicity, hypocrisy and brazen injustice, the Solidarity for the Prisoners of Conscience in India demanded that this false and vindictive FIR be cancelled and Teesta Setalvad and others detained under it be released immediately.

The following are the signatories of the above statement issued by the Solidarity for the Prisoners of Conscience in India:

Feroz Mehdi +1 (514) 834-7120
Sunita Viswanath +1 (917) 518-2441
Ubaid Shaikh +1 (516) 567-0783
Vinod Mubayi +1 (516) 380-3204
1. Aamir Qureshy Culture and Conflict Forum, San Jose, United States
2. Abbas SM India
3. Abdul Malik No Orgnisation U S A.
4. Abdul Musavvir Latiwala Indian American Muslim Council, USA
5. Abha Sur Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, USA
6. Adam Cunningham Adam Cunningham for State Senate
7. Afsar Khan Individual
8. Aj Khursheed Member of DNC
9. Akash US
10. Akhter Sadiq USA
11. Akriti Bhatia PAIGAM – People’s Association in Grassroot Action and Movements
12. Akshay Tigga India
13. Alakananda Nag Archival Matter India
14. Alok Laddha Chennai Mathematical Institute, India
15. Amar Shergill Executive Board Member, California Democratic Party, USA
16. AMBIKA Nair Freelance editor India
17. Ameet Parameswaran Jawaharlal Nehru university, India
18. Amin Mohammad Alliance to Save and Protect America from Infiltration
by Religious Extremists, USA
19. Amritjit Singh FIT
20. Anand Mathew Vishwa Jyoti, Communicatons, India
21. Anasuya Sengupta Whose Knowledge? India/UK
22. Andrea Lynch A. E. Lynch Consulting LLC
23. Andrew Messick
24. Angana Chatterji University of California, Berkeley, USA
25. Angela Ferrão Independent cartoonist India
26. Ania Loomba
27. Anindita R Bakshi
28. Anita Lal Poetic Justice Foundation, Canada
29. Anjali Arondekar Univ. of CaliforniaSanta Criz, USA
30. Anooradha Siddiqi Barnard College, Columbia University, USA
31. Anthya Madiath India
32. Aparna Sundar Canada
33. Asfia Fatima
34. Asha Shahed United States
35. Aslam Abdullah President, World Council of Muslims for Interfaith Relations, USA
36. Ateya Khorakiwala Columbia University USA
37. Audrey Truschke Rutgers University USA
39. Avtar Gill Tarksheel (Rationalist) Society Canada
40. Azam Shaikh United States
41. B Noite
42. Benedicte Ouedraogo Alternative Canada
43. Bindu Menon
44. Boota Singh Kharoudh Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) America
45. Cedric Prakash Human Rights and Peace Activist, India
46. Chaiti Mitra
47. Chitra Balakrishnan Nil
48. Christophe Jaffrelot France
49. Corinna Grasmehr Translations Germany
50. Dabbeta Prashanth jai bharath
51. Daniel Ehnbom UVA Emeritus Faculty United States
52. Daniel Guerrier France
53. Datta Desai APSS & BGVS India
54. Debashree Mukherjee Columbia University USA
55. Dee Sh None
56. Deepak Kapur USA
57. Devendra Makkar United States
58. Devika Jayakumari Feminist Scholar
59. Dhananjay Awale IT
60. DHANDI Maheshwar Insurance consultant
61. Dhanraji Ramlakhan none Trinidad and Tobago
62. Dhruva Sen Retired Corporate Executive, India
63. Dr Felix Padel (none) UK
64. Dr Lubna Sarwath Hyderabad India
65. Dr Reha Khan ISPJ
66. Dr Shobha Srivastava MBE None United Kingdom
67. Dunu Roy Hazards Centre India
68. Eddie Lin United States
69. Eliane Boucher Alternatives Canada
70. Fahmida Chhipa Chhipa Federation of America
71. Faizan Mohammad Alliance to Save and Protect America from Infiltration by Religious Extremists
72. Farhan Siddiqui
73. Farhana Motala Justice for All USA
74. Farhat Khan
75. Farheen Bano Alliance to Save and Protect America from Infiltration by Religious Extremists, USA
76. Farook Chandiwala Birmingham Interfaith Human Rights Committee
77. Feroz Vahora
78. Feroz Mehdi Alternatives Canada
79. Fiza Haque Canada
80. Gauhar Raza Scientist, poet India
81. GH Patel USA
82. Ghanshyam Shah Retired Prof. JNU, Delhi India
83. Gil Hochberg United States
84. GIRDHAR RATHI Writer India
85. Godfrey D Lima India
86. Govind Acharya Amnesty International USA
87. Habeeb Ahmed
88. Halima Khan
89. Hamzah Mohammad Alliance to Save and Protect America from Infiltration, USA
90. Harindar Mahil SANSAD Canada
91. Harjinder Singh Belgian Seva Jatha Belgium
92. Harnek Dhaliwal Punjabi Literary and Cultural Association, Winnipeg, Canada
93. Hema Elangovan
94. Hina Walajahi Massachusetts Institute
of Technology USA
95. Hyder Khan USA
96. Iain Williamson
97. Imran Kukdawala USA
98. Imrana Qadeer Individual India
99. Indrani Chatterjee USA
100. Indrani Mitra United States
101. indu Prasad Arizona State University.
102. Javed Tasgaonkar India103. Jay Meshram
104. Jaya Singh Professional India
105. Jayashree Raman United States
106. John Dayal Journalist/ social, activist, India
107. Jogi Bagat
108. Jooneed Jeeroburkhan Journalist/Writer/Rights Activist
109. Josna Rege U.S.A.
110. Judith Weston Germany
111. Kaleem Kawaja Association of India.
112. Kamna R Individual UK
113. Kanna R United States
114. Kanwal Kalirai United States
115. Karim Pathan Individual USA
116. Kasturi Sen Independent United Kingdom
117. Khalid Khan Justice America USA
118. Lalita Mohan None India
119. Lee Rhiannon Australia
120. Leslie Rodricks India
121. Loren United States
122. Lotika Singha University of Wolver Hampton, UK
123. M Sarwar
124. M Ghazali Khan Senior News Editor, Iqra TV, London
125. M P Pratheesh Individual
126. M. V. Ramana UBC Canada
127. Madhu Bhaduri None India
128. Madihur Rahman All India Tanzeem-eInsaaf, India
129. Mahejabeen Kathawala N/A
130. Makbul Patel USA
131. Malika Verma Australia
132. Mannan Mohammed Individual
133. Manzoor Ahmed Patel
134. Maqbool Patel USA
135. Marie Keller Germany
136. Martha Nussbaum The University of Chicago (Law School and Philosophy Department), USA
137. Meena Dhanda InSAF India UK
138. Mewa Bedi Canada
139. Michael Vethasiromony Rtd civil servant a senior citizen, India
140. Mike Ghouse Center for Pluralism USA
141. Modhumita
142. Mohammad Imran retired
143. Mohammad Siddiqi World Council of Muslims for Interfaith Relations (WCMIR), USA
144. Mohammad Rashid Retired USA
145. Mohammad Imran retired United States
146. Mohammad Umar Farooq Individual USA
147. Mohammed Aaris Center for Social and Constitutional Studies, India
148. Mohd Hanif Dakwala
149. Monika Kshatriya
150. Motika Anand United States
151. Mridul Bhadin Muskaan Foundation India
152. Mriganka Sur USA
153. Mukhtiar Singh Punjabi Literary and Cultural Association, Canada
154. Muqtedar Khan President of Khanversations USA
155. Mythri Jegathesan
156. Nandini Mitra Advocate India
157. Nasir Chhipa Association of Indian Muslims, USA
158. Naveen Ramadasan India
159. Niamathullah Abdul Azeez
160. Nidhin
161. Nisha Biswas Kolkata India
162. Noor Nisar
163. Noor Afza
164. Nurul Kabir Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, United States
165. Pierre Rousset Europe Solidaire sans frontières (ESSF), France
166. Prabhu Guptara United Kingdom
167. Pramod Gaikwad Massachusetts General Hospital, USA
168. Prasad Zope
169. Prashant Wankhede Bestbuy Co Inc
170. Pratyusha Vanacharla None
171. Praveen Srivastava No organization India
172. Priya Sen NA India
173. Probal Dasgupta (Retired from) Indian
Statistical Institute,
174. Purnima Dhavan UW India
175. Pushpa Iyer Middlebury Institute of International Studies, USA
176. Ragini Shah United States
177. Rahul Varma Teesri Duniya Theatre Canada
178. Raj Pal
179. Raj Dhaliwal Canada
180. Rajeev Singha United Kingdom
181. Rajiv Gulati MD Hindus for Human Rights, United States
182. Rajiv Sinha N/A USA/UK
183. Rajiva Bhushan Sahay Freelance Journalist India
184. Rajmohan Gandhi University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
185. Raju Rajagopal Hindus for Human Rights, Berkeley, CA
186. Rajya Karipineni United States
187. Ram Dargad India
188. Ram Puniyani National Solidarity Forum, India
189. Ramya Vijaya
190. Ramya Chellappa USA
191. Ravi unaffiliated USA
192. Raziya Clouser Hindus for Human Rights, USA
193. Revanta Sarabhai India
194. Rohit Chopra Santa Clara University USA
195. Roja Singh Dalit Solidarity Forum in the USA
196. Roy Manthena GBG
197. Ruchi Chaturvedi
198. Saeed Patel Justice and Fairness USA
199. Salem Mekuria USA
200. Salmi Imran None USA
201. Sandeep Bakshi Université Paris Cité France
202. Sangeeta Kamat InSAF India
203. Saritanjali Nayak Govt polytechnic, Bhubaneswar, India
204. Sasiragha Reddy Ukzn South Africa
205. Sejal Babaria USA
206. Shabana Patel
207. Shabnam Hashmi ANHAD India
208. Shagufta Hakeem N/A
209. Shahin Alvi
210. Shaik Ubaid Alliance to Save and Protect USA from Infiltration by Religious Extremists
211. Shakeel Tirmizi self-employed Canada
212. Shalini Eddens unaffiliated
213. Sharika Thiranagama
214. Shayaq Ahmed
215. Shayk Guddu
216. Shreena Gandhi Michigan State University
217. Shujat Khan Coalition of Americans for Pluralism in India
218. Simon Billenness No Business With Genocide, USA
219. Sreekala Sivasankaran Independent Scholar and Writer, India
220. Suhaib Siddiqi USA
221. Suhail Syed Council on Minority Rights in India
222. Sukhdev Singh Sukhdev Singh Canada
223. Sumanta Banerjee Political commentator India
224. Sunandan K N Azim Premji University, Bangalore
225. Sunita Viswanath Hindus for Human Rights
226. Suresh Bakrabail KKSV India
227. Sushobha Barve Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation, India
228. Suvir Kaul
229. Swadesh Mahajan Personal USA
230. Swati Garg
231. Syed Sher individual Canada
232. Syed Shahed Individual USA
233. SYED KAMAL None United States
234. T.S. Ananthu India
235. Tahaseen Salma India
236. Tanveer Patel USA
237. Terence Samuel M P India
238. Tharackandathil Shanavas
239. Tynesha McHarris Black Feminist Fund
240. Uma Shankari Individual India
241. Uma K
242. Ushakumari Gopalakrishnan KKTM
244. V Kalyanaraman no affiliation India
245. Varsha Basheer
246. Vasim Shariff
247. Vasim Shariff/Sam VS TEES US
248. Victor Begg Interfaith Community
of Treasure Coast USA
249. Victoria Champagne Alternatives Canada
250. Vijaya Maroju
251. Vijaya V Jagriti Bal Vikas Samiti, Kanpur, India
252. Vikas Dhiman University of Maine Orono, USA
253. Vinod Mubayi Insaf Bulletin, New York USA
254. Violette Drouin Alternatives Canada
255. Waheed Mukaddam Cambridge Chemical Technologies
256. William Elison University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
257. Yousuf Syed Canadians Against Oppression And Persecution, Canada
258. ZafarulIslam Khan Editor, The Milli Gazette; Former Chair, Delhi Minorities Commission
259. Zahir Adil Justice For All USA
260. Zarin Virji None India
261. Zeenat Niazi Self
262. Zoha Hopps United State

Teesta Setalvad, RB Sreekumar, Sanjiv Kumar
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