Huge nationwide protests over Teesta Setalvad's arrest, rights activists demand her release

Various organisations and human rights activists from several cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Patna, Ranchi, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Kolkata, Lucknow, Allahabad, Chandigarh, Chennai, Dhulia, Raipur and more, have condemned Setalvad’s arrest

Darshan DesaiUpdated: Monday, June 27, 2022, 10:23 PM IST
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A demonstrator holds a placard during a protest in New Delhi on June 27, 2022. - Protests were held in several Indian cities on June 27 over the arrest of rights activist Teesta Setalvad over her attempts to have Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared complicit in deadly sectarian riots 20 years ago. | (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP)

Ahmedabad: An avalanche of protests from over 2,200 human rights activists and civil liberties organisations has broken out over the arrest of activist Teesta Setalvad and former Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar, demanding their immediate release and expressing displeasure over the Supreme Court’s Friday judgment dismissing a petition by Zakia Jafri.

Besides their demand to release Setalvad and Sreekumar, they have appealed to the Supreme Court to review its decision in the Zakia Jafri case, where the court has also named Setalvad and RB Sreekumar as those who fabricated evidence and pursued the case in the courts for 16 years.

The representatives from various civil society organisations and individuals asserted in a statement that it was unfortunate that those who were seeking justice have found themselves in the dock, without getting an opportunity to be heard.

The signatories to the press statement include PUCL General Secretary, V. Suresh, NAPM convenor Medha Patkar, columnist and Professor Apoorvanand, theatre and film actor Shabana Azmi, writer Aakar Patel, Kumar Ketkar, MP, former Navy Chief Admiral Ramdas, writer and former Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed, former Lucknow University Vice-Chancellor Rooprekha Verma, MKSS founder Aruna Roy, Carnatic musician TM Krishna, poet Gauhar Raza, Shabnam Hashmi from Anhad, Feroze Mithiborwala, Bharat Bachao Andolan, Pratibha Shinde, Lok Sangharsh Morcha, V S Krishna, HRF, Activist and Socialist party leader Sandeep Pandey, writer Gita Hariharan, HRD Henri Tiphagne from Human Rights Watch, Writer Shamsul Islam, HRD Babloo Loitongbom Human Rights Alert, Former Diplomat Madhu Bhaduri, Actress Mallika Sarabhai and 2250 others.

The signatories said the apex court’s order dismissing the plea by Zakia Jafri for an investigation into the conspiracy that resulted in communal violence deepens the sense of injustice and that it must be reviewed.

According to them, the apex court overlooked the notion that there was a conspiracy to commit murder, rape and destruction of property. They believe that the order endangers all those who sought to ensure justice for the communal hate crimes following the Godhra incident.

The signatories claim that on June 24, the Gujarat ATs swung into action and barged into Setalvad's premises. The statement also claimed that the cops assaulted her and took her into custody on June 25.

They also pointed to Teesta's complaint that she feared for her life was ignored by the Gujarat Police.

The FIR accuses the Gujarat retired police officials ADGP R.B Sreekumar, DIG Sanjiv Bhatt and activist Teesta Setalvad of conspiring to fabricate evidence, tutor witnesses and abuse the process of law.

However, the statement articulates that the FIR casts its net very wide and makes the case that the period of the offence ranged from January 1, 2002, to June 25, 2022.

Various organisations and human rights activists from several cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Patna, Ranchi, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Kolkata, Lucknow, Allahabad, Chandigarh, Chennai, Dhulia, Raipur and more, have condemned Setalvad’s arrest.

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