Real Reasons Behind Witch Hunt of Teesta Setalvad – Nivedita Menon


Activist Teesta Setalvad with Zakia Jafri whose husband Ehsan Jafri, a former MP and Congress leader, who was hacked and burnt alive during the 2002 pogrom.
Activist Teesta Setalvad with Zakia Jafri whose husband Ehsan Jafri, a former MP and Congress leader, who was hacked and burnt alive during the 2002 pogrom.


If you saw the program on IBN7 last night, vilifying Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, with BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra and Sangh spokesperson Rakesh Sinha at their asabhya virulent best, shouting down and intimidating mild Sandeep Pandey and shouting continuously throughout whatever feisty Priyanka Chaturvedi (Congress spokesperson) had to say (which was hard-hitting and unanswerable), you would know what the case against the two activists is really about.


Of course, the charges against them are of corruption and embezzling of funds collected for Gujarat riot victims, but when Priyanka Chaturvedi pointed out that the case against them is dubious because Gujarat police and judiciary are not exactly exemplars of probity, given the assiduous stalking carried out by the Gujarat police on behalf of Modi’s man, of a young woman (whose family was paid off/ intimidated in classic Hindutva style, ending in the woman claiming gratitude for being stalked) they had no answer. (She could have added the blatant miscarriages of justice in cases of fake encounters and the Ishrat Jahan killing.)

It was then that Rakesh Sinha started bellowing self-righteously about the journal Communalism Combat that has taken continuously anti-national stands on the execution of Kasab, on the issue of fair trials for people accused of terrorism and so on. How dare you defend such anti-national people, he roared threateningly while the anchor Sumit Awasthi smirked triumphantly. (Remember this is the news channel that sacked an Editor for raising his voice against its blatant pro-Modi bias in the Delhi election coverage).**

Priyanka’s calm reply was that the freedom to express political views against the government or which run contrary to dominant wisdom – and Communalism Combat has not spared the Congress or the UPA – is a constitutional right, which perhaps the current dispensation would like to do away with.

But I must say it was a relief to hear the official spokespersons of Hindu right-wing formations clearly state what the problem is with Teesta and Javed – not that they are petty embezzlers, but that they are ‘anti-national’ in the eyes of the Hindu Right. That is, they have consistently stood up for secular values and democratic rights, doggedly followed up on the cases against killers in the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, successfully getting some of them transferred out of the highly compromised state judiciary, and generally been a pain in the neck for the Hindu Right and for Modi’s Gujarat pogrom apologist regime.

Thank you, Rakesh Sinha and Sambit Patra, for the virulence boiling in your system, which cannot stay under control even for strategic reasons!

1. Here is a petition we can sign to express solidarity with these indomitable activists:

2. Statement from NAPM:

NAPM is deeply disturbed with news from the Gujarat High Court refusing the anticipatory bail applications of rights activists Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and 3 others from Gulberg Society. We strongly feel that the High Court could have meticulously examined the extensive submissions put forth by Teesta, before rejecting the bail application, seeking dropping of charges. We also express our discontent with the sweeping observations made in the Order against social justice groups.

Although there is temporary respite with the intervention of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Supreme Court today, it is a matter of extreme anxiety that ‘armed’ with the High Court’s order, the Gujarat police is keen to immediately arrest Teesta and others for “custodial interrogation”. We hope the Supreme Court will appreciate the overall circumstances of the case, merits of the High Court’s order and observe as to whether at all there is any need for “custodial interrogation” of the bail applicants, at this stage of the legal process.

It has been widely acknowledged that the Teesta, Javed and activists with the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and the Sabrang Trust withstood the might of the Gujarat State for more than 12 years and fearlessly stood with the victims and survivors of the gruesome riots, since 2002. The constant political vendetta by the ruling party, at the behest of communal outfits in the state is no hidden secret.

NAPM is also worried at the increasing scenario of the present Govt. targeting rights activists, by making unsubstantiated allegations of financial irregularities and demand a halt to this approach. We call upon all peace-loving citizens, people’s organizations and political parties to voice their protest and seek fairness and justice to the activists fighting relentlessly for the cause of Gujarat riot victims. We also demand full justice and rehabilitation to the riot-survivors who are having for wait endlessly for years from a very ‘concerned State’, which does not see the need of vigilante groups.

Medha Patkar – Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Prafulla Samantara – Lok Shakti Abhiyan & Lingraj Azad – Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha; Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti & Meera – Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM, MP; Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe – NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriel Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C R Neelkandan – NAPM Kerala; P Chennaiah & Ramakrishnan Raju – NAPM Andhra Pradesh, Arundhati Dhuru, Richa Singh – NAPM, UP; Sister Celia – Domestic Workers Union & Rukmini V P, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Vimal Bhai – Matu Jan sangathan & Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant – Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat;Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan & Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar;Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, NAPM Haryana; Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan; Amitava Mitra & Sujato Bhadra, NAPM West Bengal; B S Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini & Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar and Kanika Sharma – NAPM, Delhi

For details contact Madhuresh Kumar 9818905316 | email : [email protected]

3. Statement from People’s Alliance for Secularism and Democracy (PADS):

People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) expresses alarm at the Gujarat Police move to arrest the two activists, Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand in Mumbai. The arrest of Teesta Setalvad, who was denied bail by the Gujarat High court, has been stayed for 24 hours at the intervention of the Supreme Court.

Teesta Setalvad has been relentlessly championing the rights of the victims of the Gujarat pogroms of 2002. Her efforts resulted in the transfer of some of the riot related cases out of Gujarat and conviction of some bigwigs from the Gujarat government. The Government of Gujarat led by Anandiben Patel, the successor of the incumbent Prime Minister, is vindictive and has been after Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand for their bold stand in defence of the riot victims. Its aim seems to be to discourage anyone from taking legal recourse against misdeeds of the Gujarat government during and after the 2002 pogrom.

A case of embezzlement of funds collected by their NGOs has been filed against Teesta, Javed and three others. Defendants have submitted documentary evidence in court against prosecution allegations. It must be noted that while the Gujarat government appears hell bent on targeting Teesta and her associates for standing up for riot victims, it has been reinstating the police officials who are facing serious criminal charges in fake encounter cases.

The PADS demands that the Gujarat government stop harassing Ms. Teesta Setalvad and Mr Javed Anand – whose anticipatory bail applications have been rejected by the Gujarat High Court

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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