Tag Archives: Teesta Setalvad

Gandhi’s Assassination – Much More Than Just a Murder

Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination was a culmination of a vicious campaign launched by Hindu communal groups in post-independent India

Gandhi’s_Assassination_Much_More_Murder

File Photo : Modi – India’s New Mahatma

It is far too early to dismiss the possibility of a future Hindu State in India. However, the possibility does not appear a strong one. The secular state has far more than an even chance of survival in India”

(India as Secular State, 1963).

It was the early sixties when American political scientist Donald Eugene Smith commented about the “possibility of a Hindu state in India”.

Today, even to a layperson, the secular state in India seems to be standing on very weak foundations, and the possibility of a Hindu State is far stronger than it was more than half a century ago, in 1963.

Perhaps, a pertinent expression of this transformation of India is the metamorphosis we witness in the image of Nathuram Godse – the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi — and the growing trivialisation of his most despicable act for which he and his accomplice Narayan Apte were sent to gallows. (November 15, 1949)

No doubt the act itself was the first terrorist act in independent India but was it just that or much, much more.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/gandhis-assassination-was-much-more-just-murder)

Teesta, Yakub and Hijab – The Triple Tests of Nationalism: Saif Mahmood

Guest post by SAIF MAHMOOD

If you are Indian but not a supporter of the present Government, on social media your loyalty to your country will be tested on the following touchstones :

  1. Have you said anything against the CBI’s palpably malicious agenda against Teesta Setalvad or even hinted that, even if the CBI’s allegations are taken on their face value, she is entitled to anticipatory bail ?
  2. Do you think that the decision to hang Yakub Memon deserves one last re-look ?
  3. Have you criticised the manner in which female Muslim and Christian PMT aspirants were told to take off their hijabs and scarfs if they wished to take the test and / or the intemperate language in which the Supreme Court refused to interfere in the matter?

If the answer to any of the above questions is in the affirmative, you have just failed the loyalty test; and failed you have, irrespective of the reasons that you may have for your answers. Continue reading Teesta, Yakub and Hijab – The Triple Tests of Nationalism: Saif Mahmood

The courts of this country are on trial, not Teesta: Indira Jaising

INDIRA JAISING writes in The Times of India

The hounding of Teesta Setalvad is timed to coincide with the publicly articulated urge of the Prime Minister to get a “clean chit” from the courts in relation to the ongoing cases in Gujarat, which Teesta has been doggedly pursuing. She is the victim of the pursuit for justice.

We are being asked to roll back the clock, consign the 2002 Gujarat carnage to the dustbin of history and replace Teesta Setalvad as the villain, who hounded the then chief minister…Can the collective amnesia on the Gujarat riots, and the view that we must move on be legitimized?

All this could possibly happen if Zakia Jafri and Teesta Setalvad, who are doing everything constitutionally and legally possibe to hold the head of the then government accountable, are checkmated, preferably gagged, and put into jail.

Read the rest of this damning indictment of the Indian justice system here.

Gujarat State Crime Branch Claims and the Reality Behind the Charges Against Teesta Setalvad

[In the light of a concerted campaign against Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand and their organizations Citizens for Justice and Peace and Sabrang Trust, launched by the Gujarat government and parroted by the media at large, we are reproducing a note prepared by Teesta and Javed, along with the details regarding their statement on finances (which were prepared over four months ago in February 2015 and which are also submitted before the Supreme Court). There seems a veritable media trial on with the versions of CJP and Sabrang Trust virtually blacked out, except for a few honourable exceptions. ]

A NOTE ON CITIZENS FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE; SABRANG TRUST

Concerning the allegations of embezzlement of funds by Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand by the Gujarat police, presented below are some facts:

CITIZENS FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE:

Primary Activity: Legal Aid to victims of mass crimes (communalism, terrorism)

  • Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) was formed in April 2002 by 11 prominent, law-abiding Mumbaikars, each one of whom had been individually and collectively engaged in building peace and seeking justice in the aftermath of the 1992-93 communal violence in Mumbai. Noted playwright, late Vijay Tendulkar was the founding President of CJP and remained at that post till his sad demise in May 2008.
  • Bearing in mind that the victims of the 1984 communal carnages in Delhi and in Mumbai in 1992-93 had been denied justice, the founding members of CJP resolved to focus their efforts in legal intervention in the courts to ensure Rule of Law and impartial policing.
  • The very first activity of CJP was to set-up a Citizens Tribunal headed by the late Justice VR Krishna Iyer, former justice of the Supreme Court of India. Other members of the Tribunal included former judge of the Supreme Court of India, Justice P. B. Sawant and former judge of the Bombay High Court, Justice Hosbet Suresh.

Continue reading Gujarat State Crime Branch Claims and the Reality Behind the Charges Against Teesta Setalvad

CBI Mis-reporting on Search: Teesta Setalvad

We reproduce below the full statement (partially reported in the newspapers) from Teesta Setalvad on the CBI search at her office premises regarding the continuous misreporting that was going on during the search: 

As I write this, the search is still not concluded. It is shocking that while over a dozen members of the CBI are still in our premises conducting the search, Delhi spokesperson is misleading the public and our vast supporters by a series of misinformations and official tweets.

In our view, and we repeat no laws have been broken by us. This is a continuation of the persecution and witchhunt first launched by the Gujarat police in 2014 then under the dispensation that rules Delhi. The CBI has taken the same documents that we had voluntarily on inspection given the MHA (FCRA dept). Over 25,000 pages of documentary evidence has been given to the Gujarat Police. When they could not succeed with the bizarre and desperate attempts to gain custody (February 2015), it was the Gujarat Government Home Department that wrote to the MHA and the current round of the persecutions began.

Its is shameful political vendetta. The Zakia Jafri case begins its final hearings on July 27 2015. The Naroda Patiya appeals (Kodnani and Bajrangi) are being heard in the Gujarat High Court tomorrow. This is nothing but a bid to subvert the cause of public justice and ensure that no justice happens in these cases. Continue reading CBI Mis-reporting on Search: Teesta Setalvad

Statement Against Continued Harassment of Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and others

The following is the text of a statement issued in Banaras on the 3rd January 2015, by a number of intellectuals 

In Support of Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and others

We are deeply shocked and outraged by the continuing attempts of the Modi government and the Gujarat police to somehow implicate the human rights lawyers and activists, Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand along with three victim survivors of the state sponsored carnage in Gujarat in 2002 on patently trumped up charges.

This is another attempt to derail justice particularly Zakia Jafri’s appeal which is now before the Gujarat High Court where she has accused the then Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi, the home minister of Gujarat along with 59 others which include top politicians, civil servants of conspiracy for mass murder and other serious crimes.

It is extremely significant that the amicus curiae appointed by the Supreme Court, Mr. Raju Ramachandran  has told the apex court there was enough prima facie evidence to prosecute Shri Modi. Continue reading Statement Against Continued Harassment of Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and others

To Understand the Mind of NDA II, turn to Singhal and the Sangh: Teesta Setalvad

Guest post by TEESTA SETALVAD

I do not expect there to be any outrage, comment or protest over the most recent rants of Ashok Singhal, senior RSS leader and patron of the Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an RSS offshoot in an interview published in the July 17,2014 of The Hindustan Times  daily. We have as a nation and a polity become sinisterly and compliantly accustomed and accepting of aggressive hatred spilt by the majority and hypocritically touchy and outraged by similar rantings by so-called leaders of the minority. How deep this hypocrisy of majoritarianism has spread is evident in the coverage and depiction of hate speech by our electronic media that picks and chooses what to show, how often and when. So the hate ridden rantings of an Owaisi, or a Qader Rana will be run and re-run across networks and channels but equally insidious and as or more dangerous ravings of politicians who play on the identity of the majority are glossed over, hidden and remarkably, not even commented upon.

Singhal tells us through this interview today, that he welcomes with all his heart the first RSS pracharak as Prime Minister of India but, adding the proverbial sting to the tale, says that what is truly historical and remarkable about NDA II’s victory is that this electoral win was ensured without Muslim votes or support. Barefacedly lending voice to what more sophisticated faces in government including the now maun PM would presently rather leave unsaid, Singhal gloats on the disenfranchisement of India’s largest minority during democratically conducted elections. A time-tested tactic of the octopus-like sangh that generates terror and intimidation in the public sphere by the mutterings of a Singhal and a Togadia and allows the flag bearer beneficiaries of this hate-splitting in governance, the luxuries of convenient, intermittent,  silences.  The Advani-Vajpayee duo in the first NDA were a fine example of this. [Though,  Advani often relapsed into expressing well trained views especially after the brutal burning alive of Graham Staines and his sons (Orissa, January 1999).] NDA II has witnessed some interesting role reversals with many of the flag bearers of hate mongering now at the helm: a cabinet full of hate mongers are in the government’s driving seat. Singhal also emphasises and welcomes – undoubtedly for the reassurance of the sangh support base — all those being chosen for post of Governors are sanghis,  Ram Naik or a  Kesari Nath Tripathi. Continue reading To Understand the Mind of NDA II, turn to Singhal and the Sangh: Teesta Setalvad

PUCL Petition to NHRC Urges Inquiry in the Case of Human Rights Defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand

The following is the text of the PUCL petition to NHRC in the case of Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and the Citizens for Justice and Peace

PEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES

270-A, Patpar Ganj, Opposite Anand Lok Apartments, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110 091 Phone 2275 0014 PP FAX 4215 1459 Founder: Jayaprakash Narayan; Founding President: V M Tarkunde President: Prof. Prabhakar Sinha; General Secretary: Dr. V. Suresh

E.mail: puclnat@gmail.com; pucl.natgensec@gmail.com

7th June, 2014

TO: THE HON‟BLE CHAIRPERSON AND HON‟BLE MEMBERS,

NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION,

Manav Adhikar Bhawan Block-C, GPO Complex,

INA, New Delhi – 110023

 

SUB.: SEEKING AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW AND INTERVENTION IN RESPECT OF CONTINUING PERSECUTION AND PROSECUTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS, TEESTA SETALVAD AND JAVED ANAND OF CITIZENS FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE AND OTHERS

Ref. (1) UN Declaration on the Rights and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, UN GA, 8th March, 1999. (2) UN Declaration on Protecting Human Rights Defenders, 15th March, 2013 (3) Resolution and Recommendations of NHRC with regard to protection of human rights defenders, 2009.

Index

A. Introduction and Background ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

B. International and National Human Rights Obligations ………………………………………………………………. 3

C. The role of CJP and its Trustees in safeguarding Rule of Law and the Constitution, as revealed by the orders of various courts ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6

D. Interest of Gujarat police in matters against CJP and its Trustees ………………………………………………. 7

E. Prosecution Proceedings against Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and CJP …………………………………….. 8

F. Need of an Independent Enquiry and Review ………………………………………………………………………….. 9

G. Prayer ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 10

ANNEXURE -1 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 12

List of Criminal Cases pursued by CJP team ……………………………………………………………………………. 12

ANNEXURE -2 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15

Legal Interventions by CJP, and its trustees Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand …………………………… 15

ANNEXURE -3 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 25

Table of Prosecutions / Proceedings launched against Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand, CJP and Sabrang Trust …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 25

ANNEXURE -4 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 27

Excerpts: Registrar General Supreme Court of India Shri BM Gupta’s Report in Crl.M.P. NOS 6658-6661, 11884-11887-12515-12518 & 12519-12522 in CRL Appeal Nos 446-449/2004 (Zahira Habbullah Sheikh & Anr v/s state of Gujarat & Ors) ……………………………………………………………….. 27

Sir,
A. Introduction and Background

1. The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has been consistently working for protecting and upholding the human rights as well as civil liberties of the people and has been intervening before this Hon’ble Commission and the Courts. Under the International Human Rights Principles, it is duty of every State to protect the human rights defenders. In fact, it is right and responsibility of every individual, groups and organs of society to promote and protect universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms. The UN Declaration of protecting human rights defenders was adopted by UN General Assembly in 2013 urging the States to acknowledge publicly the important and legitimate role of human rights defenders and the promotion of Human rights, democracy and the rule of law. In this regard, we may also refer to the report of the UN Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya on human rights defenders, (2013) which was presented before the UN Human Rights Council wherein the obligation cast on the Member States was highlighted to ensure that Human Rights Defenders can conduct their work in a peaceful manner and that no administrative and legislative provisions are used to restrict the rights of defenders in order to show respect to the International Human Rights Law.

2. This Hon’ble Commission has adopted, among others, the following recommendation regarding human rights defenders in October, 2009:

“(i) It is the obligation of the State to protect human rights of all. Individuals, groups or associations who work for promotion and protection of human rights, commonly referred to as Human Rights Defenders, should also be provided protection by the State against any violence, threats, retaliation, adverse discrimination, pressure or any arbitrary action as a consequence of their activities for promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedom. NHRC and SHRCs can also play an important role in this regard.”

It is in this context that the PUCL is concerned about the prosecution and persecution of Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and others of the Citizens for Peace and Justice, who had taken up the issues of the victims of Gujarat riots which took place in the year 2002. It was their intervention before the Hon’ble Supreme Court and other courts which ultimately led to over 110 conviction so far with other trials nearing completion. It was this Hon’ble Commission which had challenged the acquittals of all the accused in Best Bakery Case before the Hon’ble Supreme Court and had sought transfer of important cases outside the State of Gujarat; the Citizen for Justice and Peace was also one of the Petitioners in the case. The Best Bakery case was transferred to Mumbai and eventually the trial court has convicted 9 persons. The efforts made by them are required to be appreciated as they acted for defending and protecting the gross human rights violations of the victims of 2002 riots. It is the duty of the State of Gujarat and all its administrative organs to protect Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand & others of CJP in defending the legal constitutional and human rights of the victims of Gujarat Riots and to provide them protection as envisaged in the United National Human Rights Documents, which is also endorsed by this Hon’ble Commission.

B. International and National Human Rights Obligations

3. As stated earlier under international human rights principles there is a duty cast upon every State to accord adequate protection to human rights defenders. The United Nations “Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” (March, 1999) acknowledges that human rights defenders play a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights and it is the duty of every State and its administrators to avoid criminalisation, stigmatisation, impediments, obstructions or restrictions on the work of human rights defenders. The UN expressed its grave concern that in some instances national security and counter terrorism and other measures have been misused to target human rights defenders or have hindered their work and endangered their safety contrary to international law.

4. Art. 18 of this Declaration stresses that “individuals, groups, institutions and non-governmental organisations have an important role to play and a responsibility in safeguarding democracy, promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms and contributing to the promotion and advancement of democratic societies, institutions and processes”.

5. The UN Declaration on Protecting Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2013 urged States to acknowledge publicly the important and legitimate role of human rights defenders in the promotion of human rights, democracy and rule of law. The declaration also urges States to create a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders to extend support free from hindrance and insecurity. The Declaration specifically called upon States to ensure procedural safeguards are in place, including in criminal cases, against human rights defenders … so as “to avoid the use of unreliable evidence, unwarranted investigations and procedural delays”.

a. Report of the UN Special Rapporteur

6. The Report of the UN Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya on the situation of human rights defenders, (2013), as presented before the UN Human Rights Council also deals with human rights defenders and recommends:

“Member States should: (a) Ensure that defenders can conduct their work in a conducive legal, institutional and administrative framework. In this vein, refrain from criminalizing defenders’ peaceful and legitimate activities, abolish all administrative and legislative provisions that restrict the rights of defenders, and ensure that domestic legislation respects basic principles relating to international human rights law and standards; (b) Combat impunity for violations against defenders by ensuring that investigations are promptly and impartially conducted, perpetrators are held accountable, and victims obtain appropriate remedy. In this context, pay particular attention to violations committed by non-State actors; ……
(e) Ensure that violations by State and non-State actors against defenders, particularly women defenders, are promptly and impartially investigated, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. Furthermore, provide material resources to ensure the physical and psychological protection of defenders, including through gender-sensitive polices and mechanisms; (f) Publicly acknowledge the particular and significant role played by women human rights defenders, and those working on women’s rights or gender issues, and make sure that they are able to work in an environment free from violence and discrimination of any sort;”

b. National Human Rights Obligations
7. The Hon’ble NHRC, has adopted, amongst others, the following recommendation regarding human rights defenders in October 2009:
(i) It is the obligation of the State to protect human rights of all. Individuals, groups or associations who work for promotion and protection of human rights, commonly referred to as Human Rights Defenders, should also be provided protection by the State against any violence, threats, retaliation, adverse discrimination, pressure or any arbitrary action as a consequence of their activities for promotion & protection of human rights & fundamental freedom. NHRC and SHRCs can also play an important role in this regard. “

8. The Hon’ble Commission had also recommended that:
(iv) There is a need to set up a Focal Point for human rights defenders, preferably at NHRC, so that human rights defenders can reach out to it for support. The focal point should be accessible through a phone no. or email etc.
(v) For protection of human rights, modern technology like satellite T.V. coverage and SMSs etc. could be effectively utilized. Print media and electronic media can play an important role in this regard.
(vi) Complaints of harassment of human rights defenders could be posted on NHRC/ SHRC websites to draw specific attention of the people to such cases.
(vii) The UN Declaration on the “Rights and responsibilities of Individuals, Groups and Organisations of society to promote and protect universally recognized human rights & Fundamental Freedoms” adopted by the General Assembly in 1998 should be disseminated to the Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police of all States and UTs as also other Government functionaries. Likewise, other National and State Commissions/ institutions related to human rights issues should also be apprised about the aforementioned declaration and other important international covenants and instruments.
(viii) NHRC may consider including cases of violation of rights of human rights defenders along with action taken thereon in a section of its annual report.
(ix) NHRC may consider writing to the Government of India for granting permission to UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders to visit India.
Keeping in mind the letter and spirit of the Indian Constitution, UN Declarations specifically protecting human rights defenders, recommendations of the Hon’ble NHRC (2009), as well as the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (2013), and the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, PUCL would like to highlight that CJP and its office bearers Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and their team of human rights defenders have under threats of grave risk to their personal safety, ensured that the rule of law prevailed in the state of Gujarat at a time when the entire state machinery was subverted and all public officials either abdicated their constitutional and statutory functions or worse connived / actively participated with the perpetrators of terror and violence. It is pertinent to point out that even as they strived to establish the rule of law and ensured that perpetrators were punished, a slew of complaints and FIRs were foisted against them. Many complaints were later found to be unfounded. While we do not want to comment on the specifics of any of the pending complaints we are of the firm belief that the complaints against CJP, Teesta and Javed Anand have to be appreciated in the larger continuum of facts and events.

C. The role of CJP and its Trustees in safeguarding Rule of Law and the Constitution, as revealed by the orders of various courts

9. ANNEXURE -1 to this petition is the table of cases, which the Citizens for Justice and Peace and its trustee Teesta Setalvad pursued in different courts seeking accountability and justice. ANNEXURE-2 are detailed notes on the interventions made by these human rights defenders. It may not be out of place to state that but for their sustained efforts the criminals who indulged in heinous crimes would not have been brought to book.

10. Amongst the numerous cases pursued by Teesta Setalvad and the CJP, one of the most noteworthy cases is the Best Bakery case which initially ended in a total acquittal of all the accused, got a fresh lease of life when an important eye witness to the incident Ms. Zahira Sheikh approached Teesta Setalvad and the CJP saying she had been coerced to resile on her eye witness testimony. After diligently verifying the authenticity and veracity of her claim, the CJP facilitated her to record her statement before a Full Bench of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). In an unprecedented move, the NHRC challenged the acquittals before the Supreme Court and sought a transfer of key criminal cases outside the state of Gujarat. CJP was also one of the petitioners in the case. Not only did the SC order fresh trial but eventually the trial court went on to convict 9 of the accused persons. (please see table 1, Annexure 1) The apex court also directed appointment of Special Public Prosecutors to prosecute the Gujarat riot cases. As Table 1 shows, the combined efforts of Teesta Setalvad and the CJP team have secured more than 110 convictions so far with many other trials nearing completion.

D. Interest of Gujarat police in matters against CJP and its Trustees

11. It is necessary to point out here, that it was in the context of convictions of people owing allegiance to the ruling dispensation, including conviction of policemen and politicians that allegations and complaints against CJP and Teesta Setalvad were vigorously pursued by Gujarat Police. Without going into the merits of the complaints we would like to point out that the complaints against CJP and Teesta have to be examined closely and cautiously in the light of the more than decade long struggle that she and her organisation had waged against the Gujarat State agencies, especially the police and law enforcement agencies.

12. PUCL would also like to point out that such complaints tend to discredit human rights defenders in the public eye thereby making their task as human rights defenders more onerous and difficult to discharge. It cannot be gainsaid that allegations of financial impropriety are easy to make; but the damage such allegations cause to individual reputation and self respect is irreparable. Very often though nothing much comes out of such allegations finally, the allegations would well have achieved their purpose of putting the individuals and organisations concerned on the defensive and force them to necessarily participate in an endless spiral of litigation trying to prove their innocence. Apart from diverting defenders from the main task of protecting, promoting and preserving human rights work, immense amounts of time, physical and emotional energy, and finances are lost in fighting malicious prosecutions and litigations.

E. Prosecution Proceedings against Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and CJP

13. PUCL is of the opinion that keeping in mind the background circumstances in which FIRs against CJP and Teesta Setalvad are being filed and pursued there is a need to have an independent review of all the cases filed against CJP, Teesta and others by the Hon’ble NHRC. The importance of having a comprehensive review of the entirety of cases pursued by Teesta Setalvad and the CJP and the manner of hurdles thrown in their path can be better appreciated when we consider the type of allegations and prosecutions launched against her as listed in the table reproduced in ANNEXURE 3.

14. A case in point is the allegation made by Zahira Sheikh, the eye witness in the Best Bakery Case; even as the retrial was going on, suddenly on 3rd November, 2004 Zahira Sheikh in a Press Conference in Vadodara alleged that she had been kidnapped by Teesta Setalvad and forced to testify in court against the accused. Within just 2 days, on 5th November, 2004 Teesta Setalvad herself approached the SC seeking a high level enquiry into the allegations against her. The Registrar-General of the Supreme Court of India was appointed by the Apex Court who after an elaborate enquiry found the allegations against Teesta Setalvad by Zahira Sheikh to be baseless. While the exoneration helped the CJP to concentrate on its human rights work, valuable time, resources and energy were wasted in the effort. The excerpts of the Registrar General Supreme Court of India, Shri BM Gupta’s Report in Crl.M.P. NOS 6658-6661, 11884-11887-12515-12518 & 12519-12522 in CRL Appeal Nos 446-449 / 2004 (Zahira Habbullah Sheikh & Anr v/s state of Gujarat & Ors) is annexed here with as ANNEXURE – 4.

Courts have also categorically exonerated Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and others from any allegations of tutoring witnesses.

16. Another example of the misuse of the investigative powers of the Gujarat Police can be found in the private complaint case filed by one Raees Khan (No. 37/12 dtd 20.06.2012, No. 10/12 dtd 23.07.2012) This simple defamation case, was used to conduct a roving Inquiry by the DCB Crime Branch, Ahmedabad. This roving Inquiry has been challenged in a petition before the Hon’ble High Court of Gujarat (SCA No 2825/2012).
F. Need of an Independent Enquiry and Review

17. In this context when repeated allegations against Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and the CJP were found to be without substance, there is a duty and an obligation cast upon the Government of Gujarat, the Central Government, the judiciary, human rights bodies as well as the civil society to ensure that human rights defenders like Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and CJP are protected and they are not hindered in their work by having to overcome repeated complaints. There has to be accountability for unfounded criminal proceedings; especially when the ‘persecutors’ are themselves those who are the ‘law protectors’ and prosecutors. It is no solace that the allegations are rejected or that Ms. Setalvad or other human rights defenders are acquitted by courts of law.

18. The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (2013) recognises the dangers faced by human rights defenders even as it expresses its concerns that there are instances when “national security and counter terrorism legislation and other measures, such as laws regulating civil society organisations, have been misused to target human rights defenders or have hindered their work and endangered their safety in a manner contrary to international law”. (emphasis ours)

19. Furthermore the Hon’ble NHRC has also stated in its recommendations regarding human rights defenders that it will become the focal point for human rights defenders to whom they can reach out to phone/email etc. The current enquiries in that context.

20. It is pertinent to mention that the Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and others associated with CJP have had a long record of working with the Hon’ble NHRC, on issues of human rights and have been instrumental in bringing the Hon’ble Commission’s attention to matters that need its attention and intervention.

G. Prayer

In the facts and circumstances stated hereinabove it is most respectfully prayed that this Hon’ble Commission may be pleased to:
(i) Review all the cases filed against Citizens for Justice and Peace and its Trustees Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand in the light of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and other relevant laws.
(ii) Pending such review recommend that the Government of Gujarat refrain from initiating any coercive action such as arrest, freezing of accounts etc or in any manner hindering the work of the human rights defenders mentioned above;
(iii) To create a mechanism by which all complaints, as may arise, against human rights defenders like Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand, CJP team and others are first referred to this Hon’ble Commission before initiating any further action on such complaints so as to ensure that their useful work to secure human rights is not hindered by such complaints in future;
(iv) Recommend the initiation of criminal and disciplinary action against all policemen, prosecutors and government officials, and individuals against whom there is prima facie evidence of mala fide actions against human rights defenders like Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and others.
(v) Intervene in the matters/cases referred above, going on against human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand so as to protect their rights as human rights defenders

(vi) Take all other appropriate and necessary actions in respect of protecting human rights defenders, as per international and national human rights obligations;

(Dr. V. Suresh)
National General Secretary
Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties

 

Condemn the Vengeful Actions of the Gujarat Government – A Statement In Solidarity with Teesta Setalvad and her Comrades

The following is a statement issued by activists and intellectuals in solidarity with Teesta Setalvad and her comrades

We, the undersigned express our deep shock at the rejection of the anticipatory bail application of Teesta Setalvad and four others in what is being called the Gulberg Embezzlement Case, by the City sessions court of Ahmedabad. From its beginning, the so-called embezzlement has been the concoction of elements instigated by the state government of Gujarat, including the Gujarat Crime Branch. In January 2014, an FIR was registered against the five accused for defrauding the members of the Gulberg Society of funds meant for the building of the Gulberg Memorial commemorating the state sponsored carnage.

It may be in order to recall the facts of the case, especially, since a section of the media is spreading canards that the funds thus raised were used for buying jewellery, wine and such like, and gloating over the possibility of the arrest of Teesta Setalvad and others.

Continue reading Condemn the Vengeful Actions of the Gujarat Government – A Statement In Solidarity with Teesta Setalvad and her Comrades

Revenge is the Only Motive of the Vindictive Modi government – A Statement in Support of Teesta and Others

The following is a Statement issued by SAHMAT in Support of Teesta Setalvad and others

We are shocked and outraged by the continuing attempt of the highly vindictive Modi government and the Gujarat police to somehow implicate activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, along with three victim-survivors of the state-sponsored Gujarat carnage in 2002 on patently trumped-up charges.

This is nothing but a desperate bid to delay or derail the justice process, in particular Zakia Jafri’s appeal which is now before the Gujarat High Court. Mrs. Jafri has accused Gujarat chief minister and home minister, Narendra Modi along with 59 other top politicians, police officers and civil servants of conspiracy for mass murder and other serious criminal offences.

It is significant that the Supreme Court appointed amicus curiae in the case, Mr. Raju Ramachandran, has told the apex court there was enough prima facie evidence to prosecute Modi. Continue reading Revenge is the Only Motive of the Vindictive Modi government – A Statement in Support of Teesta and Others

The Gulberg Memorial

The photograph above is that of a small protest by People’s Watch yesterday, in Madurai, for justice and reparations in Gujarat. Such demonstrations were held across India. Nothing irks the Narendra Modi Fan Brigade than remembering. Move on, they say, move on, forget it. It happened. The struggle of man against power, said Milan Kundera, is the struggle of memory against forgetting.

The short film below, about making a memorial at Gulberg Society in Ahemdabad, was put out by the Teesta Setalvad-led Sabrang Trust in 2008. Yesterday, tenth anniversary of the day Gujarat began to burn for a few weeks in 2002, Sabrang Trust held a meeting at what is now the Gulberge Memorial. Given below the film is the text read out by Justice Hosbet Suresh read out at the Memorial meeting, which was webcast live by Sabrang Trust.

Continue reading The Gulberg Memorial

About Warped Minds

Update: See this FAQ by Sundeep Dougal.

Guest post by DILIP D’SOUZA

All over again, timed with the run up to voting, there’s plenty of uproar over Gujarat. A Times of India journalist called Dhananjay Mahapatra wrote a report (NGOs, Teesta spiced up Gujarat riot incidents: SIT, April 14) which casts doubt on a number of aspects of the violence in Gujarat in 2002.

In his report, Mahapatra mentions the Special Investigation Team that has been looking into the violence. On April 13, writes Mahapatra, “the SIT led by former CBI Director RK Raghavan told the Supreme Court on Monday that [Teesta Setalvad] exaggerated macabre tales of wanton killings.” (Note the impression he gives that Raghavan himself was in Court on Monday to say this). Mahapatra’s report also tells us several things that Gujarat counsel Mukul Rohatgi said in Court. Continue reading About Warped Minds