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India: Continued harassment and persecution against human rights defenders

Friday 31 March 2017, by siawi3

Source: siawi 29.03.2017

Bail Hearing of HRDs Teesta Setalvad & Javed Anand on March 31 in Supreme Court

The Gujarat State (Police, Crime Branch) harassment and intimidation of HRDs Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand has resumed once again! This morning, Mahesh Jethmalani suddenly mentioned their pending Bail Matter before Chief Justice of India Kehar and the matter has been listed on Friday, March 31 *. In a show of high drama and vindictiveness, Anticipatory Bail had been refused to HRDs Setalvad and Anand on February 12, 2015 after which a virtual witch-hunt has been launched against them and their organisations by different wings of the state apparatus, including the CBI (see references below)

The SC stepped in and gave both HRDs temporary protection in March 2015 (the Gujarat Home Department then instigated the MHA under Modi to launch a scrutiny of all the organisations, first suspend FCRA, then grant it to one and then finally cancel it to both Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP and Sabrang Trust-December 2016). The CBI was also let loose on them, home and office raided, following which Bombay HC granted ABA. CBI then challenged grant of ABA and thereafter charge sheeted them in a Mumbai Court.

The matter that comes up on Friday is the matter related to the Crime Ahmedabad’s malafide investigation into CJP, Sabrang accounts. Over 21,000 pages of accounts have been supplied to the IO, each one of the vicious allegations answered and yet the persistent attempts to criminalise the issue—and attempt the incarceration of two HRDs continues. Since February-March 2015 when the Gujarat Police failed to arrest the HRDS ( they arrived at their home in Mumbai within 40 minutes of the Gujarat HC rejecting their anticipatory bail in Ahmedabad/Gandhinagar on March 12), the SC has extended temporary protection, pending hearing of the matter to both Setalvad and Anand.

Teesta Setalvad is facing nine false criminal cases (eight by the Gujarat police and one by the CBI). Javed Anand faces two, one by the Crime Branch and one by the CBI. These are clear attempts to browbeat us into stopping the crucial human rights work that we are engaged in.

Meawhile the CBI chargtesheeted (criminally prosecuted and this is a first!!!!) Setalvad and Anand for alleged FCRA Violations which they have denied. They were granted Judicial Bail on February 3. That matter comes up in a CBI Court on May 12, 2017.

* Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand have just received intimation that the hearing is not on 31st March (Bail Hearing) and is likely to be on April 17 or thereabouts. The concerns expressed above remain, however.