India: Statements in Support of Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand


 Solidarity Demos on 16 July 2015

In Defence of Teesta Setalvad and others - Solidarity Demos on 16 July 2015 in Delhi and Elsewhere

PRESS RELEASE

Demonstrations are being held today in different cities in solidarity with Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and their colleagues. Intellectuals, academicians, students, artists, activists, teachers and ordinary people are coming out outraged by the blatant misuse of state machinery to hound and persecute a group of courageous human rights defenders. The latest raids by the Central Bureau of Investigation into their home and offices in Mumbai on 14 July 2015 are continuation of the undeclared policy of first, the Gujarat government, and since May 2014, of the Central government to harass and demoralize them by foisting false cases of financial irregularity.

Ever since the registration of the malicious FIR against the couple and their organization in 2014, they have been cooperating with the Gujarat police – and now with the CBI – by providing them with full documentary evidence of audited accounts and all other financial dealings. Nonetheless, the intention of the Gujarat police has been to somehow secure the custody of Setalvad and Anand. Frustrated in their attempts by the intervention of the Supreme Court, the Gujarat government has now mobilized the Ministry of Home Affairs, which has in turn unleashed the CBI on the activists.

It is appalling that while multi-million scams and the ruling party’s coziness with scamsters awaits investigation, the Central Government is witch hunting activists. The reasons are obvious: Setalvad and others must be made to pay for the relentless pursuit of justice in the 2002 massacre of Muslims.

It is well-known that Teesta Setlavad and Javed Anand have fought also to expose the role of the Gujarat government in enabling, abetting and even organising these crimes. They have been fearless in charging the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently the country’s Prime Minister, with direct criminal culpability for these crimes. For this they have assisted the widow of a former MP who was slaughtered in the carnage Zakia Jafri to fight a brave court battle in which the first accused is the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. They are also appealing against court orders to free on bail prominent political leaders of the BJP convicted of the worst massacre in Naroda Patiya, Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi.

It is no surprise therefore that the latest round of raids comes just before the Zakia Jafri case begins its final hearings on July 27 2015 and when the Naroda Patiya appeals (Kodnani and Bajrangi) were to be heard in the Gujarat High Court.

What we are witnessing is a crude and defiant misuse of official bodies to beat down these human rights defenders so as to silence their voices, break their morale and divert them from their unrelenting battles in defense of justice which charge the country’s current leadership with complicity in hate crimes. The open official bullying of courageous human rights defenders even as persons charged with a range of serious crimes walk free are brazen official attempts to diminish Indian democracy. This will be powerfully resisted by all democratic voices in the country.

We therefore demand:
1) The false, flimsy cases which have been used as a pretext to hound Setalvad, her colleagues and their organization be withdrawn.
2) The CBI must, with immediate effect, end its misinformation campaign which is absolutely contrary to facts and truth.

Issued at Dharna on July 16 at Jantar Mantar organized by:
AIDWA, ANHAD, EFIRLC, JANA NATYA MANCH, JAMIA TEACHERS’ SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION, NFIW, NOMORE CAMPAIGN, SHAHRI ADHIKAR MANCH: BEGHARON KE SAATH, UNITED CHRISTIAN FORUM

A STATEMENT IS ALSO BEING ISSUED ALONG WITH THIS PRESS RELEASE

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF TEESTA SETALVAD
Released on 16 July 2015 by Shabnam Hashmi, Anhad

Civil society and Left groups of Bombay came out on 16 July 2015 outside Dadar Station, Mumbai to express their solidarity with journalist-activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand who are being hounded by the Modi Government for speaking up for the rights of riot victims of the 2002 carnage in Gujarat.

* Source: http://sacw.net/article11380.html


 Citizens For Democracy

Harassment and victimization of Teesta and Javed by the CBI condemned - Statement by Citizens For Democracy

CITIZENS FOR DEMOCRACY
D-7/2 Vasant Vihar, New Delhi-110057

Date 15th July, 2015

PRESS STATEMENT

Harassment and victimization of Teesta and Javed by the CBI condemned.

Citizens For Democracy strongly deplores the vicious persecution and harassment of leading human rights activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand by the CBI at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre and the State of Gujrat. For the past about 30 years both Teesta and Javed have been relentlessly pursuing and espousing variety of causes in defence of human rights, especially of dalits, minorities and other deprived sections of society. After demolition of Babri Masjid in December 1992, they started strenuous campaign, in association with other democratic and secular forces, against the growing menace of communalism-whether of any group of majority or minority. In pursuing this cause they launched the “Communalism Combat” in 1993, the well known periodical, which has made singular contribution in promoting communal harmony and peace in the country. It is to their credit that the report of the Justice Srikrishna Commission relating to 1993 violence in Mumbai, which exposed the communal conduct of the police force against the Muslims and which the then government wanted to suppress, got published through their efforts. Both, through their magazine and articles in various papers, holding meetings and seminars, went on espousing various issues of human rights concerns, including State repression in Kashmir, Punjab and Northeast. When Gujrat violence took place in 2002, they took up the cause of justice for the victims as ‘crusaders’ and threw themselves wholeheartedly, body and soul together, in the struggle. Eventually they succeeded in getting booked and punished many accused against all odds and despite the fact the entire might of the Gujrat State rallied against them in protecting and defending the criminals. Even Narendra Modi, the present Prime Minister of India, faces the danger of being arrayed in the company of some of the accused if the related cases are properly and honestly pursued by the investigating agencies.

Failing in its efforts to deter both of them, the present ruling party has resorted to such disgraceful tactics of using CBI to persecute, harass and humiliate them on flimsy and fabricated allegations and raiding their premises with a view to humiliate and malign them.

We urge upon the Central govt. and the CBI, to desist in employing such deplorable tactics which are inspired by nothing but malice and revenge. Govt. and CBI should know that democratic forces and the human rights movement in the country stand in support of both Teesta and Jawed and such brutal efforts to silence the voices of dissent will be duly resisted.

N.D.Pancholi
General Secretary
Citizens For Democracy

* Source: http://www.sacw.net/article11375.html


 People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism

Statement by People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism following CBI raid at Sabrang Communications and homes of its editors and publishers

PEOPLE’S ALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY AND SECULARISM (PADS)

Press Statement

14 July 2015

PADS strongly condemns the CBI raids of 14 July 2915 at the premises of social activist Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand, Gulam Mohammed Peshimam and office of Sabrang Communications and Publishing in Mumbai. These raids are undertaken for purely vindictive reasons given the assurances of complete cooperation and submission of thousands of pages of documents to the CBI. It is by now an open secret that activists working for justice and truth with regard to the pogrom called ‘Gujarat Riots’ have earned the hatred and animosity of the Modi government; which does not hesitate to employ official state power to indulge in a witch-hunt.

Setalvad and Anand set up Sabrang Communications and began publishing Communalism Combat in 1993, and not after 2002. It was this company that published the Justice Srikrishna Commission Report on the Mumbai communal riots of 1992-1993 at a time when the state government would not make it available to the public. The state not only fails in its constitutional duty to protect all citizens from unlawful deprivation of life and liberty under Article 21, but hounds and intimidates all those who seek to uphold human rights and democratic values.

It may also be noted that a senior Public Prosecutor, Rohini Salian, has accused the NIA of showing a bias in favour of certain persons accused of terrorist crimes. None other than the respected Julio Rebeiro, retired Police Commissioner of Punjab, has asked the public to take serious note of what Ms Salian has alleged. Furthermore, a Gujarat special judge, Ms Jyotsna Yagnik, stated in May this year that she has received 22 threats since retirement, on account of her role in convicting those responsible for the Naroda Patiya massacre in 2002. Her security cover was not enhanced, but scaled down. It is also noteworthy that the final hearings in the Zakia Jafri Criminal Revision Application are due to begin on July 27. Mrs Jafri seeks to make top-level politicians, including the then Gujarat chief minister, and top-level policemen, including the present Commissioner of Police, Shivanand Jha, former joint CP, Crime Branch, AK Sharma (now in the CBI ) answerable for criminal and administrative culpability for their role in 2002.

Seen together, in their entirety, the above facts are a cause for grave concern to all Indian citizens. They portend nothing less than an undeclared Emergency. Lovers of democracy should resist the ruthless campaign of intimidation unleashed against Sabrang Communications. PADS demands that the Union Government abandon its hostile and vindictive stance towards human rights defenders and concentrate on upholding the rule of law and providing justice to innocent Indian citizens who have fallen victim to bloodthirsty communal politics.

Email: info-pads lycos.com

* http://www.sacw.net/article11371.html


 Radical Socialist

Statement

CONDEMN TERRORISATION OF PEOPLE, AND THE MOVE TOWARDS POLICE STATE

Radical Socialist condemns the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raid on activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand’s Mumbai residence and organisations they established and run Sabrang Communications, Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace. The raid is a clear case of vindictiveness shown by Narendra Modi and BJP towards Setalvad and Citizens for Justice and Peace. Setalvad and Anand, along with fellow activists, have been responsible for keeping alive the memory of the pogrom of 2002, for ensuring that some of the guilty at least were punished. As it has already been pointed out by defenders and supporters of Setalvad, the CBI raid’s timing is significant exposing the malafide intent of the government in power. On 13 July, the Gujarat High Court was to hear appeals by Babu Bajrangi and Maya Kodnani. On 27 July, the same court will begin its final hearing into the petition filed by Zakia Jafri.

The CBI has been used as a weapon by the Modi government to muzzle critics or dissent in any form and discipline political rivals. Setalvad and her colleagues have been harassed since 2006 by the Gujarat police. With Modi assuming the office of Prime Minister in 2014, these cases are now being pursued by central agencies.

Modi’s one year in office has seen frequent incidents of attacks on minorities. Repeatedly, Modi, or his ministers, have advocated causes from the Hindutva agenda, and have intentionally attacked and hurt minority sentiments. The reason for the severe persecution of Teesta Setalvad is of course an aggressive reaction to the determined fight put up by the organisations they have been running.

But more than that, it is a form of state sponsored terrorisation, where the aim, just as with any non-state terrorists, is not only to attack or kill certain persons, but even more, to strike terror among other people. By attacking prominent civil rights activists, the regime is seeking to discredit them in the public eye; to tie them and their time up in innumerable cases in self defence, so that they have less and less time to fight for the rights of oppressed groups of people and while knowing that these people are hardened fighters and may go on resisting, this terrorisation is trying to silence and iontimidate others, whether in Gujarat, or elsewhere, so that they accept the move to implementation of more and more Hindutva agenda without protest. The assassins of senior Communist Party leader of Maharashtra, Govind Pansare, killed in February this year, have not been caught. Similar is the case with the murderers of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

Radical Socialist joins voices in supporting Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and several other activists and citizens in the time of assault from the BJP- Sangh Parivar led government. We believe in spirited action against communal-fascism and terrorism unleashed by the BJP-Sangh Parivar in the country. We join in criticism of the Police State; as affairs have come to be in the Modi regime.

In order to express our solidarity, we believe that forms, such as statements by prominent individuals, or online petitions, cannot be fully adequate. We are facing a government, headed by a party that has been repeatedly identified as fascist by many left and progressive forces. Solidarity has to take on more militant and mass forms. We propose an all India day of action, when there will be protest meetings, in public spaces if we can mobilise sufficient people, in halls where that is not possible, but in cities and towns all over India, where our demands should include:

•Oppose the move towards a police state

•Oppose the Central Government’s attempts at pushing the Hindutva agenda

•Stop the harassment of Teesta Setalvad and all other campaigners for communal harmony

•Stop state support to peddlers of communal violence from Gujarat to Muzaffarnagar

•Punish the killers of Pansare and Dabholkar

19 July 2015

* http://www.radicalsocialist.in/articles/statement-radical-socialist/723-condemn-terrorisation-of-people-and-the-move-towards-police-state


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