Solidarity for the Prisoners of Conscience in India – Statement in Support of Teesta, Sreekumar & other Human Rights Defenders 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. 

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 Ahmadabad, 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.

1.       Aamir Qureshy Culture and Conflict Forum, San Jose United States
2.       Abbas SM India
3.       Abdul Malik No Orgnisation U S A.
4.       Abdul Musavvir Latiwala Indian American Muslim Council USA
5.       Abha Sur Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia USA
6.       Adam Cunningham Adam Cunningham for State Senate United States
7.       Afsar Khan Individual
8.       Aj Khursheed Member of DNC
9.       Akash US
10.   Akhter Sadiq USA
11.   Akriti Bhatia PAIGAM – People’s Association in Grassroot Action and Movements
12.   Akshay Tigga India
13.   Alakananda Nag Archival Matter India
14.   Alok Laddha Chennai Mathematical Institute India
15.   Amar Shergill Executive Board Member California Democratic Party USA
16.   AMBIKA Nair Freelance editor India
17.   Ameet Parameswaran Jawaharlal Nehru university India
18.   Amin Mohammad Alliance to Save and Protect  America from Infiltration

by Religious Extremists

19.   Amritjit Singh FIT
20.   Anand Mathew Vishwa Jyoti Communicatons India
21.   Anasuya Sengupta Whose Knowledge? India/UK
22.   Andrea Lynch A. E. Lynch Consulting LLC
23.   Andrew Messick
24.   Angana Chatterji University of California, Berkeley USA
25.   Angela Ferrão Independent cartoonist India
26.   Ania Loomba
27.   Anindita R Bakshi
28.   Anita Lal Poetic Justice Foundation Canada
29.   Anjali Arondekar Univ. of California- Santa Criz USA
30.   Anooradha Siddiqi Barnard College, Columbia University USA
31.   Anthya Madiath India
32.   Aparna Sundar Canada
33.   Asfia Fatima
34.   Asha Shahed United States
35.   Aslam Abdullah President, World Council of Muslims for

Interfaith Relations

36.   Ateya Khorakiwala Columbia University USA
37.   Audrey Truschke Rutgers University USA
39.   Avtar Gill Tarksheel (Rationalist) Society  Canada Canada
40.   Azam Shaikh United States
41.   B Noite
42.   Benedicte Ouedraogo Alternative Canada
43.   Bindu Menon
44.   Boota Singh Kharoudh Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) America USA
45.   Cedric Prakash Human Rights and Peace Activist India
46.   Chaiti Mitra
47.   Chitra Balakrishnan Nil
48.   Christophe Jaffrelot France
49.   Corinna Grasmehr Translations Germany
50.   Dabbeta Prashanth jai bharath
51.   Daniel Ehnbom UVA Emeritus Faculty United States
52.   Daniel Guerrier France
53.   Datta Desai APSS & BGVS India
54.   Debashree Mukherjee Columbia University USA
55.   Dee Sh None
56.   Deepak Kapur USA
57.   Devendra Makkar United States
58.   Devika Jayakumari Feminist Scholar
59.   Dhananjay Awale IT
60.   DHANDI Maheshwar Insurance consultant
61.   Dhanraji Ramlakhan none Trinidad and Tobago
62.   Dhruva Sen Retired Corporate Executive India
63.   Eve Ensler Playwright, activist USA
64.   Dr Felix Padel (none) UK
65.   Dr Lubna Sarwath Hyderabad India
66.   Dr Reha Khan ISPJ
67.   Dr Shobha Srivastava MBE None United Kingdom
68.   Dunu Roy Hazards Centre India
69.   Eddie Lin United States
70.   Eliane Boucher Alternatives Canada
71.   Fahmida Chhipa Chhipa Federation of America USA
72.   Faizan Mohammad Alliance to Save and Protect America from Infiltration

by Religious Extremists

73.   Farhan Siddiqui
74.   Farhana Motala Justice for All USA
75.   Farhat Khan
76.   Farheen Bano Alliance to Save and Protect America from Infiltration

by Religious Extremists

77.   Farook Chandiwala Birmingham Interfaith Human Rights Committee
78.   Feroz Vahora
79.   Feroz Mehdi Alternatives Canada
80.   Fiza Haque Canada
81.   Gauhar Raza Scientist, poet India
82.   GH Patel USA
83.   Ghanshyam Shah Retired Prof. JNU, Delhi India
84.   Gil Hochberg United States
85.   GIRDHAR RATHI Writer India
86.   Godfrey D Lima India
87.   Govind Acharya Amnesty International USA USA
88.   Habeeb Ahmed
89.   Halima Khan
90.   Hamzah Mohammad Alliance to Save and Protect America from Infiltration

by Religious Extremists

91.   Harindar Mahil SANSAD Canada
92.   Harjinder Singh Belgian Seva Jatha Belgium
93.   Harnek Dhaliwal Punjabi Literary and Cultural Association Winnipeg CANADA
94.   Hema Elangovan
95.   Hina Walajahi Massachusetts Institute of Technology USA
96.   Hyder Khan USA
97.   Iain Williamson
98.   Imran Kukdawala USA
99.   Imrana Qadeer Individual India
100.                        Indrani Chatterjee USA
101.                        Indrani Mitra United States
102.                        indu Prasad Arizona State University. USA
103.                        Javed Tasgaonkar India
104.                        Jay Meshram
105.                        Jaya Singh Professional India
106.                        Jayashree Raman United States
107.                        John Dayal Journalist/ social activist India
108.                        Jogi Bagat
109.                        Jooneed Jeeroburkhan Journalist/Writer/Rights Activist
110.                        Josna Rege U.S.A.
111.                        Judith Weston Germany
112.                        Kaleem Kawaja Association of India. Muslims of America USA
113.                        Kamna R Individual UK
114.                        Kanna R United States
115.                        Kanwal Kalirai United States
116.                        Karim Pathan Individual USA
117.                        Kasturi Sen Independent United Kingdom
118.                        Khalid Khan Justice America USA
119.                        Lalita Mohan None India
120.                        Lee Rhiannon Australia
121.                        Leslie Rodricks India
122.                        Loren United States
123.                        Lotika Singha University of Wolver Hampton UK
124.                        M Sarwar
125.                        M Ghazali Khan Senior News Editor

Iqra TV, London

United Kingdom
126.                        M P Pratheesh Individual
127.                        M. V. Ramana UBC Canada
128.                        Madhu Bhaduri None India
129.                        Madihur Rahman All India Tanzeem-e-Insaaf India
130.                        Mahejabeen Kathawala N/A
131.                        Makbul Patel USA
132.                        Malika Verma Australia
133.                        Mannan Mohammed Individual
134.                        Manzoor Ahmed Patel
135.                        Maqbool Patel USA
136.                        Marie Keller Germany
137.                        Martha Nussbaum The University of Chicago (Law School and Philosophy Department) USA
138.                        Meena Dhanda InSAF India UK
139.                        Mewa Bedi Canada
140.                        Michael Vethasiromony Rtd civil servant a senior citizen India
141.                        Mike Ghouse Center for Pluralism USA
142.                        Modhumita
143.                        Mohammad Imran retired
144.                        Mohammad Siddiqi World Council of Muslims for Interfaith Relations (WCMIR) U. S. A.
145.                        Mohammad Rashid Retired USA
146.                        Mohammad Imran retired United States
147.                        Mohammad Umar Farooq Individual USA
148.                        Mohammed Aaris Center for Social and  Constitutional Studies India
149.                        Mohd Hanif Dakwala
150.                        Monika Kshatriya
151.                        Motika Anand United States
152.                        Mridul Bhadin Muskaan Foundation India
153.                        Mriganka Sur USA
154.                        Mukhtiar Singh Punjabi Literary and Cultural Association Canada
155.                        Muqtedar Khan President of Khanversations USA


156.                        Mythri Jegathesan
157.                        Nandini Mitra Advocate India
158.                        Nasir Chhipa Association of Indian Muslims USA
159.                        Naveen Ramadasan India
160.                        Niamathullah Abdul Azeez
161.                        Nidhin
162.                        Nisha Biswas Kolkata India
163.                        Noor Nisar
164.                        Noor Afza
165.                        Nurul Kabir Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia United States
166.                        Pierre Rousset Europe Solidaire sans frontières (ESSF) France
167.                        Prabhu Guptara United Kingdom
168.                        Pramod Gaikwad Massachusetts General Hospital USA
169.                        Prasad Zope
170.                        Prashant Wankhede Bestbuy Co Inc
171.                        Pratyusha Vanacharla None
172.                        Praveen Srivastava No organization India
173.                        Priya Sen NA India
174.                        Probal Dasgupta (Retired from) Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata India
175.                        Purnima Dhavan UW India
176.                        Pushpa Iyer Middlebury Institute of

International Studies

177.                        Ragini Shah United States
178.                        Rahul Varma Teesri Duniya Theatre Canada
179.                        Raj Pal
180.                        Raj Dhaliwal Canada
181.                        Rajeev Singha United Kingdom
182.                        Rajiv Gulati MD Hindus for Human Rights United States
183.                        Rajiv Sinha N/A USA/UK
184.                        Rajiva Bhushan Sahay Freelance Journalist India
185.                        Rajmohan Gandhi University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign USA
186.                        Raju Rajagopal Hindus for Human Rights, Berkeley, CA USA
187.                        Rajya Karipineni United States
188.                        Ram Dargad India
189.                        Ram Puniyani National Solidarity Forum India
190.                        Ramya Vijaya
191.                        Ramya Chellappa USA
192.                        Ravi unaffiliated USA
193.                        Raziya Clouser HIndus for Human Rights USA
194.                        Revanta Sarabhai India
195.                        Rohit Chopra Santa Clara University USA
196.                        Roja Singh Dalit Solidarity Forum in the USA USA
197.                        Roy Manthena GBG
198.                        Ruchi Chaturvedi
199.                        Saeed Patel Justice and Fairness USA
200.                        Salem Mekuria USA
201.                        Salmi Imran None USA
202.                        Sandeep Bakshi Université Paris Cité France
203.                        Sangeeta Kamat InSAF India
204.                        Saritanjali Nayak Govt polytechnic , Bhubaneswar India
205.                        Sasiragha Reddy Ukzn South Africa
206.                        Sejal Babaria USA
207.                        Shabana Patel
208.                        Shabnam Hashmi ANHAD India
209.                        Shagufta Hakeem N/A
210.                        Shahin Alvi
211.                        Shaik Ubaid Alliance to Save and Protect   USA

America USA from Infiltration

by Religious Extremists

212.                        Shakeel Tirmizi self-employed Canada
213.                        Shalini Eddens unaffiliated
214.                        Sharika Thiranagama
215.                        Shayaq Ahmed
216.                        Shayk Guddu
217.                        Shreena Gandhi Michigan State University USA
218.                        Shujat Khan Coalition of Americans for Pluralism in India USA
219.                        Simon Billenness No Business With Genocide USA
220.                        Sreekala Sivasankaran Independent Scholar and Writer India
221.                        Suhaib Siddiqi USA
222.                        Suhail Syed Council on Minority Rights in India India
223.                        Sukhdev Singh Sukhdev Singh Canada
224.                        Sumanta Banerjee Political  commentator India
225.                        Sunandan K N Azim Premji University, Bangalore
226.                        Sunita Viswanath Hindus for Human Rights
227.                        Suresh Bakrabail KKSV India
228.                        Sushobha Barve Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation India
229.                        Suvir Kaul
230.                        Swadesh Mahajan Personal USA
231.                        Swati Garg
232.                        Syed Sher individual Canada
233.                        Syed Shahed Individual USA
234.                        SYED KAMAL None United States
235.                        T.S. Ananthu India
236.                        Tahaseen Salma India
237.                        Tanveer Patel USA
238.                        Terence Samuel M P India
239.                        Tharackandathil Shanavas
240.                        Tynesha McHarris Black Feminist Fund
241.                        Uma Shankari Individual India
242.                        Uma K
243.                        Ushakumari Gopalakrishnan KKTM
244.                        Usuf Chikte PAAF (PEOPLE AGAINST APARTHEID AND FASCISM)
245.                        V Kalyanaraman no affiliation India
246.                        Varsha Basheer
247.                        Vasim Shariff
248.                        Vasim Shariff/Sam VS TEES US
249.                        Victor Begg Interfaith Community of Treasure Coast USA
250.                        Victoria Champagne Alternatives Canada
251.                        Vijaya Maroju
252.                        Vijaya V Jagriti Bal Vikas Samiti, Kanpur India
253.                        Vikas Dhiman University of Maine Orono USA
254.                        Vinod Mubayi Insaf Bulletin, New York USA
255.                        Violette Drouin Alternatives Canada
256.                        Waheed Mukaddam Cambridge Chemical Technologies
257.                        William Elison University of California, Santa Barbara USA
258.                        Yousuf Syed Canadians Against Oppression And Persecution Canada
259.                        Zafarul-Islam Khan Editor, The Milli Gazetter; Former Chair, Delhi Minorities Commission India
260.                        Zahir Adil Justice For All USA
261.                        Zarin Virji None India
262.                        Zeenat Niazi Self
263.                        Zoha Hopps United States


5 thoughts on “Solidarity for the Prisoners of Conscience in India – Statement in Support of Teesta, Sreekumar & other Human Rights Defenders in India”

  1. This is a good initiative. Ultimately truth will triumph like with Mandela and evil and extremists will fail like Hitler.


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