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India: The arrest of human rights activist Teesta Selavad & Others, and protests by citizens groups

Thursday 30 June 2022, by siawi3

Source: http://sacw.net/article14941.html

The Modi Years: The assault on civil society and human rights activists and critics continues

India: The arrest of human rights activist Teesta Selavad & Others, and protests by citizens groups
: Select Reports, Statements & Resources (June 25, 2022 on)

26 June

[updated on June 30, 2022]

CJP PRESS RELEASE: Teesta Setalvad roughed up as Gujarat ATS personnel barge into her home

https://cjp.org.in/press-release-teesta-setalvad-roughed-up-as-gujarat-ats-personnel-barg

The Police FIR against her: https://acrobat.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:7d7ae68e-97e4-3dec-826d-c124123b7298#pageNum=1
Teesta Setalvad Arrested by Gujarat ATS from Her Mumbai Residence and Taken to Ahmedabad https://m.thewire.in/article/government/gujarat-police-arrest-teesta-setalvad-activist-who-pursued-2002-riots-case-against-modi
Activist Teesta Setalvad Detained A Day After Court Ruling On 2002 Riot https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/activist-teesta-setalvad-detained-by-gujarat-anti-terrorism-squad-in-mumbai-3099862
Gujarat ATS Detains Activist Teesta Setalvad https://www.newsclick.in/gujarat-ats-comes-take-activist-teesta-setalvad-ahmedabad
Gujarat police arrest Teesta Setalvad, ex-DGP a day after SC verdict https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/gujarat-police-arrest-teesta-setalvad-ex-dgp-r-b-sreekumar-a-day-after-supreme-court-verdict-and-hours-after-amit-shahs-interview/cid/1871858
Among first to take up cause of Gujarat riot victims, Teesta is fighting many cases https://indianexpress.com/article/political-pulse/newsmaker-among-first-to-take-up-cause-of-gujarat-riot-victims-teesta-is-fighting-many-cases-7991643/
Prominent Activist in India Arrested Over Crusade Against Modi in Deadly Riots by Sameer Yasir https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/26/world/asia/india-activist-arrested-modi-gujarat-riots.html
U.N. official seeks Teesta Setalvad’s release by Kallol Bhattacherjee https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/teesta-setalvad-is-a-strong-voice-against-hatred-un-official/article65567631.ece?homepage=true
India: Detention of writer and human rights defender, Teesta Setalvad, is latest assault on civil society - Statement by PEN International (June 26, 2022) https://pen-international.org/news/india-arrest-writer-human-rights-defender-teesta-setalvad-latest-assault-civil-society
The Supreme Court Has Made Progress. It Now Directs ‘Those Seeking Justice’ to Be Put in the Dock by Apoorvanand https://thewire.in/law/supreme-court-teesta-setalvad-arrest-human-rights-godhra-riots
New SIT to probe Sreekumar, Setalvad, Bhatt for criminal conspiracy, forgery
Written by Vaibhav Jha https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/new-sit-probe-sreekumar-setalvad-bhatt-criminal-conspiracy-forgery-7992667/
Had it not been for Court, justice would be elusive for Gujarat 2002. That’s why its latest order, its use by police, is disturbing - Editorial, The Indian Express |
( June 27, 2022) https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/in-scs-name-teesta-setalvad-sreekumar-arrest-gujarat-riots-7992821/
Teesta Setalvad’s Arrest Shows Spread Of “Emergency Mindset” by Sagarika Ghose https://www.ndtv.com/opinion/teesta-setalvads-arrest-shows-spread-of-emergency-mindset-3104422
Black Day for Supreme Court; Judges Should Clarify They Didn’t Intend Teesta’s Arrest—Justice Lokur https://youtu.be/vgyRYv6KNyo
Condemned by Innuendo: Some Questions on the SC Order That Led to Teesta Setalvad’s Arrest https://thewire.in/law/supreme-court-order-teesta-setalvad
SAWM India seeks immediate release of Setalvad & Zubair https://sawmsisters.com/sawm-india-seeks-immediate-release-of-setalvad-zubair/
Teesta’s arrest: An act of vindictiveness https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/first-edit/teestas-arrest-an-act-of-vindictiveness-1122261.html
Two faces: Editorial on India’s political stance | Editorial, The Telegraph. June 29, 2022 https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/two-faces-editorial-on-indias-political-stance/cid/1872298

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Statement from LeftWord Books and Vaam Prakashan on the Maligning of Teesta Setalvad,

25 June 2022

https://mayday.leftword.com/blog/post/statement-from-leftword-books-and-vaam-prakashan-on-the-maligning-of-teesta-setalvad-25-june-2022

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Radical Socialist Statement: The Arrest of Teesta Setalvad

RS strongly condemns the manner and the purpose behind the latest action taken against the courageous and longstanding human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and her organisation, the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP). It is no coincidence that this action immediately followed the shocking Supreme Court judgement (unsigned by a three judge bench) that not only rejected the appeal for an investigation into the high-level conspiratorial circumstances surrounding the 2002 Gujarat pogrom but effectively directed the authorities to “bring to book” those upholding the Ehsan Jafri cause.

First, an Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) from Gujarat was deployed to pick up Setalvad from her home in Mumbai, Maharashtra although the charges made in its First Information Report (FIR) in no way come under the brief of the ATS or justify its deployment. Second, she was whisked away without a necessary warrant. Third, she was roughed up and bruised in her home and three mobile phones were illegally seized. Fourth, in the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court when no such order had been passed, the proceedings were nevertheless held “in camera”, keeping the media and interested and concerned members of the public out. Crime branch cops were posted to ensure this by intimidating onlookers.

The detention and arrest of Teesta Setalvad (along with the indictment of the former Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP), R.B. Sreekumar and of the police officer Sanjiv Bhatt since both had earlier testified to Modi’s involvement in promoting the riots) serves specific and more general purposes. The motivation for now setting up a Gujarat controlled Special Investigation Team (SIT) is to go after the CJP and crush it as well as to make a case against Setalvad’s presumed ’political masters’. This would fit in with the larger political ambition of the BJP to eliminate or subordinate all opposing political parties.

In reality this is an act of sheer revenge by Modi, Shah and other cohorts in the Gujarat government of 2002 and after, to punish Setalvad et al for their steady and continuous pursuit of justice for the victims of that pogrom which had helped to criminally indict some wrong doers and to highlight the negligence and worse of that Gujarat government.

Clearly, a message is being sent out to other civil liberties groups and activists resisting the communal behaviour and ideology of the Sangh Parivar and this BJP government that you had better watch out! An active and justice-loving citizenry willing to carry out independent fact-finding on any issue that may expose the iniquities and brutalities of state or central authorities will not be tolerated.

WE MUST STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE CJP AND CIVIL LIBERTIES GROUPS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS ACROSS INDIA

WE MUST CONTINUE OUR WORK TO EXPOSE THE INJUSTICES PERPETRATED BY THIS GOVERNMENT AND STAND AGAINST THE SANGH PARIVAR’S RACIST AND FASCISTIC PROJECT OF CREATING A HINDU RASHTRA.

WE REMAIN UNBOWED!

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PRESS RELEASE- INTERNATIONAL STATEMENT DEMANDING TEESTA’S RELEASE

Solidarity for the Prisoners of Conscience in India

260 prominent human rights activists, intellectuals, journalists, artists and community leaders from all over the world strongly condemned the arrest of eminent human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and R.B. Sreekumar , Sanjiv Bhatt (already in prison for over 18 months) as well as journalist and fact checker Mohammed Zubair in India. The newly launched broad-based alliance, Solidarity for the Prisoners of Conscience in India, had appealed for this show of solidarity.

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Statement in Support of Teesta, Sreekumar & other Human Rights Defenders in India

We the undersigned, concerned citizens of the world, and representing various human rights organizations, condemn the arrest of veteran human rights leader, Teesta Setalvad and other Human Rights Defenders. These are Prisoners of Conscience in India, and all such prisoners must be freed.

June 25, 2022 marked the 47th anniversary of the dark era of an Emergency in India, when a government hijacked the whole edifice of the state. The ruling party and its leader treated the state as their personal estate. It was the imposition of a highly concentrated apparatus of power on a fundamentally free and federal society, and the turning over of this centralized 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. 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 v/s 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. 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 proceeded with 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). 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.

The FIR casts its net very wide and makes the case that the time period of the offense ranged from Jan. 1, 2002 to Jun. 25, 2022. In effect every effort for justice for the victims of 2002, be it petitions filed in the High Court, Supreme Court, or the Magistrates’ Court is sought to be criminalized. 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 criminalizing 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.

Immediately after these 2 arrests, the government also arrested 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 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.

We, the undersigned, condemn such acts of duplicity, hypocrisy and brazen injustice. We demand that this false and vindictive FIR be cancelled and Teesta Setalvad and others detained under it be released immediately.

Feroz Mehdi +1 (514) 834-7120
Sunita Viswanath+1 (917) 518-2441
Ubaid Shaikh +1 (516) 567-0783
Vinod Mubayi +1 (516) 380-3204

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some of the posters calling for protest on June 27 against arrest of Teesta Setalvad and others