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India: Mapping solidarity: 26 protests so far demanding Teesta Setalvad’s release

Wednesday 6 July 2022, by siawi3


Freedom India
Mapping solidarity: 26 protests so far demanding Teesta Setalvad’s release

SabrangIndia’s exclusive map also charts cities whose solidarity attempts were thwarted by administration

Sabrangindia 02 Jul 2022


Police in parts of India continue to prevent gatherings in support of arrested human rights activist and journalist Teesta Setalvad. By July 2, 2022 there had been 26 solidarity protests across India to demand the immediate release of Setalvad and 2002 Gujarat riots whistle-blowers R. B. Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt. However, two requests for permission were rejected.

A day after the Zakia Jafri case was dismissed by the Supreme Court, the 60-year-old activist was accused of criminal conspiracy and forgery. Former Gujarat State DGP Sreekumar was named as her co-conspirator and arrested as well.

However, many activist collectives, human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers have since held protests across various cities of India including local villages like that of Chitrakoot and Sonbhadra to condemn the arrest. There was a protest organised by the lawyers of the Madras High Court condemning the ruling regime for its bulldozer tactics.

Four days after Setalvad’s arrest, over 20 city-wide protests, 10 solidarity statements across the globe made the news - all decrying the government for penalising those who demand accountability. By Saturday, the number of protests touched 26, while 12 solidarity statements were issued by rights groups. This includes international groups like the Human Rights Watch, the Frontline Defenders and the WGHR.

The map would have accounted for 28 protests in total but the first one in Bhopal on June 28 was denied permission by the local police. It cited MCC guidelines for rejecting the gathering reported the Free Press Journal.

The other protest was to be held on Saturday, the same day as Setalvad and Sreekumar’s hearing. Yet this time, the Concerned Citizens of Goa received a letter from the Fatorda police station that said it cannot grant permission for a solidarity protest owing to “rise in Covid-19 positive cases and to avoid law and order situation”. Further, the Margao Traffic Cell “strongly objected from traffic point of view”. It may be noted that both of these are BJP-rules states.

All these efforts in support of the voices of dissent can be seen on the following map (here).