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India: Diverse Statements and a Citizens Online Petition in Defence of Prominent Activists Teesta Setalvad & Javed Anand Under Threat of Arrest

by sacw.net, 13 February 2015

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[Starting on 12 February 2015, Public statements by diverse groups and an online petition in solidarity have come out to protest the threat of arrests of prominent journalists and secular activists in India] Updated on 18 Feb. 2015

1. Statement from National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

NAPM is deeply disturbed with news from the Gujarat High Court refusing the anticipatory bail applications of rights activists Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and 3 others from Gulberg Society. We strongly feel that the High Court could have meticulously examined the extensive submissions put forth by Teesta, before rejecting the bail application, seeking dropping of charges. We also express our discontent with the sweeping observations made in the Order against social justice groups.

Although there is temporary respite with the intervention of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Supreme Court today, it is a matter of extreme anxiety that ‘armed’ with the High Court’s order, the Gujarat police is keen to immediately arrest Teesta and others for “custodial interrogation”. We hope the Supreme Court will appreciate the overall circumstances of the case, merits of the High Court’s order and observe as to whether at all there is any need for “custodial interrogation” of the bail applicants, at this stage of the legal process.

It has been widely acknowledged that the Teesta, Javed and activists with the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and the Sabrang Trust withstood the might of the Gujarat State for more than 12 years and fearlessly stood with the victims and survivors of the gruesome riots, since 2002. The constant political vendetta by the ruling party, at the behest of communal outfits in the state is no hidden secret.

NAPM is also worried at the increasing scenario of the present Govt. targeting rights activists, by making unsubstantiated allegations of financial irregularities and demand a halt to this approach. We call upon all peace-loving citizens, people’s organizations and political parties to voice their protest and seek fairness and justice to the activists fighting relentlessly for the cause of Gujarat riot victims. We also demand full justice and rehabilitation to the riot-survivors who are having for wait endlessly for years from a very ‘concerned State’, which does not see the need of vigilante groups.

Medha Patkar – Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Prafulla Samantara – Lok Shakti Abhiyan & Lingraj Azad – Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha; Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti & Meera – Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM, MP; Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe – NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriel Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C R Neelkandan – NAPM Kerala; P Chennaiah & Ramakrishnan Raju – NAPM Andhra Pradesh, Arundhati Dhuru, Richa Singh – NAPM, UP; Sister Celia – Domestic Workers Union & Rukmini V P, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Vimal Bhai – Matu Jan sangathan & Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant – Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat;Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan & Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar;Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, NAPM Haryana; Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan; Amitava Mitra & Sujato Bhadra, NAPM West Bengal; B S Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini & Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar and Kanika Sharma – NAPM, Delhi

For details contact : Madhuresh Kumar 9818905316 | email : napmindia at gmail.com

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2. People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) expresses alarm at the Gujarat Police move to arrest Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand

People’s Alliance for Secularism and Democracy (PADS)

Public Statement

Date: 12 February 2014

People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) expresses alarm at the Gujarat Police move to arrest the two activists, Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand in Mumbai. The arrest of Teesta Setalvad, who was denied bail by the Gujarat High court, has been stayed for 24 hours at the intervention of the Supreme Court.

Teesta Setalvad has been relentlessly championing the rights of the victims of the Gujarat pogroms of 2002. Her efforts resulted in the transfer of some of the riot related cases out of Gujarat and conviction of some bigwigs from the Gujarat government. The Government of Gujarat led by Anandiben Patel, the successor of the incumbent Prime Minister, is vindictive and has been after Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand for their bold stand in defence of the riot victims. Its aim seems to be to discourage anyone from taking legal recourse against misdeeds of the Gujarat government during and after the 2002 pogrom. A case of embezzlement of funds collected by their NGOs has been filed against Teesta, Javed and three others. Defendants have submitted documentary evidence in court against prosecution allegations. It must be noted that while the Gujarat government appears hell bent on targeting Teesta and her associates for standing up for riot victims, it has been reinstating the police officials who are facing serious criminal charges in fake encounter cases.

The PADS demands that the Gujarat government stop harassing Ms. Teesta Setalvad and Mr Javed Anand - whose anticipatory bail applications have been rejected by the Gujarat High Court today.

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3. Text of statement on Gujarat High Court rejecting anticipatory bail of Teesta Setalvad & others by Prashant Centre for Human rights

Prashant A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace
Post Box No. 4050, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad 380 009, Gujarat, India
Tel.: +91 (079) 66522333, 27455913 Fax: +91 (079) 27489018
Mobile: 9824034536. e-mail: sjprashant at gmail.com. www.humanrightsindia.in

STATEMENT ON THE GUJARAT HIGH COURT REJECTING
THE ANTICIPATORY BAIL APPLICATION OF MS TEESTA SETALVAD & OTHERS

It is extremely unfortunate that the anticipatory bail application filed by Ms. Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand and three others of Gulberg Society – Mr. Tanvir Jafri (son of slain MP Ehsan Jafri), Mr. Feroz Gulzar, Secretary and Mr. Salim Sandhi, Chairman of the Gulberg Society - has today been rejected by the Gujarat High Court.

All are aware that the charges are extremely flimsy and fabricated and are surely politically motivated.

In their response, Ms. Setalvad and the others provided the High Court with extensive, comprehensive and irrefutable evidence as to why they should be given anticipatory bail and the charges be dropped.

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4. Statement by All India Secular Forum on the move to arrest Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand

All India Secular Forum stands with Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand as they have struggled for justice for the victims of riots in Gujarat. Gujarat Police made several attempts and slapped several false cases on Teesta Setalvad to deter her from fighting for justice for the victims of Gujarat riots and have acted vindictively. The cases against them would not stand and justice will ultimately prevail. We demand that all false cases against Teesta Setalvad be immediately withdrawn and Gujarat police desist from taking coercive and vindictive action against them.

Adv. Irfan Engineer
Director,
Centre for Study of Society and Secularism
603, New Silver Star, Near Railway Bridge, Prabhat Colony Road,, Santacruz (E), Mumbai, India. PIN: 400055.
Call: +91-22-26149668 | M: +91-9869462833, +919820553173 | Fax: +91-22-6100712
e-mail: forirf at gmail.com; irfanengi at gmail.com; csss at mtnl.net.in
skype: irfanen

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5. Press Statement by CPI(M) - condemns the Gujarat Police move to arrest Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand

via marxistindia
news from the cpi(m)

February 12, 2015

Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) condemns the Gujarat Police move to arrest Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand in Mumbai. The arrest of Teesta Setalvad has been stayed for 24 hours at the intervention of the Supreme Court.

The Gujarat Police have targeted Teesta Setalvad because of her relentless championing of the rights of the victims of the Gujarat pogroms of 2002. While the Gujarat government is pursuing the harassment of Teesta Setalvad, it has been reinstating police officials who are facing serious criminal charges.

The CPI(M) demands that the Gujarat government withdraw the concocted case against Teesta Setalvad and stop harassing her.

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6. [Petition] Citizens in Solidarity with Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand

We are shocked to learn of the rejection of the Anticipatory bail applications of Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand by the Gujarat High Court. Media stories suggest that the bail applications have been turned down because Setalavad and Anand were “not cooperating with the investigations” and that prima facie “funds were used for private purpose”. It is a matter of record that they have submitted their original bank statements, balance sheets and audited accounts that completely disprove the allegations. Does this amount to non-cooperation or prima facie evidence of wrong-doing?

We stand with Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, and their quest for justice for the victims of 2002 violence, which has turned them into a target of Gujarat government’s ire. We condemn this witchhunt and the false and malicious propaganda being circulated against them.

SEE FULL LIST OF SIGNATORIES AT at: http://www.indiaresists.com/sign-petition-citizens-in-solidarity-with-teesta-setalvad-and-javed-anand/

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7. Statement by WGHR

Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN

WGHR condemns the action of the Gujarat High Court and its utterances on human rights defender Teesta Setalvad

13 February 2015

The Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR), a coalition of Indian civil society organisations and independent experts, takes strong exception to the turning down of the Anticipatory bail applications of Teesta Setalvad, secretary of Citizen’s for Justice and Peace, Javed Anand and two others by the Gujarat High Court on 12 February 2015 in a case of alleged misappropriation of funds for a memorial at Gulberg housing society, one of the areas devastated in the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat. The Gujarat High Court had on January 30 reserved the order on the bail petitions filed by Setalvad, Anand, Tanvir Jafri (whose father and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots) and Firoz Gulzar, a resident of the Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad.

WGHR is shocked to learn that just after the rejection of the anticipatory bail plea the Gujarat Police moved to arrest Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand in Mumbai. The arrest of Teesta Setalvad has been stayed for 24 hours at the intervention of the Supreme Court on 12th February 2015 until 19th February when the petition for anticipatory bail is to be heard. The latest action is part of a long series of vindictive actions undertaken by the vengeful Gujarat government and police to somehow implicate Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand along with three victim survivors of the state sponsored carnage in Gujarat in 2002 on patently trumped up charges. The Gujarat Police have targeted Teesta Setalvad for her relentless championing of the rights of the victims of the Gujarat pogroms of 2002. It is evident that the malicious intent of the case and the threat of arrest are diversionary tactics to consume their time and energies in defending their own liberty, instead of pursuing the legal battle relating to the riots. WGHR also wishes to appreciate the Supreme Court of India for its immediate intervention in ensuring that the arrest was immediately stayed.

It is a matter of record that Teesta Setalvad and others have rebutted the charges in affidavits filed in courts. They have submitted their original bank statements, balance sheets and audited accounts that completely disprove the allegations. WGHR expresses in unequivocal terms its disappointment on the general comments of the honourable High Court on the works of civil society groups and NGOs which are in forefront of the struggle for justice for victims of human rights violations and establishing rule of law. WGHR also wishes to record that Teesta and her colleagues had placed all the documents that they had submitted to the court in the process of the hearing of this anticipatory bail in the public domain running to several thousands of pages. WGHR also recognises Teesta and her colleagues for their simplicity in living as opposed to the utterances of the High Court of Gujarat in its order. WGHR extends its solidarity with human rights defender Teesta Setalvad who is a member of the WGHR coalition in her quest for justice for the victims of 2002 Gujrat violence. Teesta Setalvad, a journalist and a committed human rights defender is among the founding members of Citizens for Justice and Peace, Mumbai (CJP) which was formed to fight for justice for the victims of communal violence in the state of Gujarat in 2002. Because of her work as a defender Teesta has become a target of Gujarat government’s arbitrary use of state power.

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. WGHR therefore, demands an independent review of the false cases by an independent agency to put an end to the continuing persecution and malicious propaganda being circulated against the human rights defenders, Teesta Setalvad of Citizens for Peace and Justice and others. WGHR also hopes that the Supreme Court of India while hearing the anticipatory bail petition of Teesta Setalvad and her colleagues will also use the opportunity to recognise the rights of human rights defenders and ensure that the Courts of law in the country are much more responsible in their utterances against such human rights defenders.

Henri Tiphagne
Convenor
WGHR

For further information contact:

Mr Henri Tiphagne Convener, WGHR E-mail: henri@ pwtn.org

The Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN – a national coalition of fourteen human rights organisations and independent experts – works towards the realisation of all civil, cultural, economic, political and social human rights in India and towards holding the Indian government accountable to its national and international human rights obligations.
For information on WGHR, please visit: www.wghr.org.

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8. Human Rights Defenders Alert - India
National Coordination Office
6, Vallabai Road, Chokkikulam, Madurai 625 002.
Tamil Nadu, INDIA
Tel: +91-9994368540 Email: hrda.india at gmail.com

13.02.2015

HRDA-India: Statement in Support of Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand

The Human Rights Defenders Alerts – India [HRDA], is shocked to hear about the denial of anticipatory bail to renowned human rights activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand by the Gujarat High Court on February 12, 2015. The Gujarat High Court in this particular case of an allegation of misuse of funds further commented that ‘The facts of this case reflect the sorry state of affairs of the NGOs’. “How can one seek materialistic pleasure and happiness at the expense of the poor and needy persons. How can one even use five paise which is meant for the poor and the needy. The facts of this case reflect the sorry state of affairs of the NGOs…The donations are made with lot of trust and hope that ultimately the money would reach the poor and the needy. However, here is a case where, in the name of the poor, needy and unfortunate riot-affected victims, lakhs of rupees was received and embezzled,” said the court, adding that it was “shocking and disturbing”. The HRDA strongly condemns the comments of the Judge of the Gujarat High Court as they are completely uncalled for, based without any substantive evidence and seriously impinge on the right of all NGOs and civil society groups. These comments are even before the investigation in the FIR is complete totally damaging to a human rights defender of international repute. The Supreme Court of India, stayed the arrest of the activists and agreed to hear the anticipatory bail plea the next day on February 19, 2015. HRDA appreciates this speedy intervention of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

This particular case in question is with regard to a trust that was formed in 2007 to build a memorial for the victims in Gulberg Society during the 2002 Gujarat Riots. The Court has also failed to appreciate that ‘Memoralization’ is a human rights engagement that no one but Teesta and her colleagues had attempted to keep the memory of the Gujarat carnage alive in the minds of our Indian society so that the sanctity of our secular fabric is protected from further such attempts. Due to an increase in the land prices, the trust couldn’t afford the said plan and with the due consent of the grant donors utilized the funds for legal aid for the riot victims and petitions challenging the role of the State. An embezzlement case was filed in January 2014 and the Gujarat High Court was moved for an anticipatory bail. For more than a year, the anticipatory bail matter has been pending in court. It is also important to take note of the fact that the Supreme Court has found itself been repeatedly asked to intervene in cases related to the Gujarat Riots. HRDA is alarmed by the speed in which a petition for anticipatory bail has been handled by the Gujarat High Court – for more than one year!! .

This particular matter however is not directly related to the Gujarat Riots, both Teesta and Javed for now over 11 years have been working for justice for the victims and survivors of Gujarat Riots. Their role has been instrumental in obtaining life sentences for former Gujarat State Minister Maya Kodnani, Bajrang Dal Leader Babu Bajrangi and more than a hundred others. This particular denial of anticipatory bail also comes in the light of several senior police officers accused in a series of cases relating to Gujarat Riots being granted bail by the courts and reinstated back in senior positions in the state police.

This is not the first time that Human Rights Defenders working for justice and truth with regard to Gujarat Riots have been targeted. Teesta herself has been targeted in several other false criminal cases for which she had to seek anticipatory bail from the Supreme Court. It is clearly a part of repeated attempts to discredit human rights defenders and attacks on them.

HRDA strongly condemns the ongoing attacks on human rights defenders in the state of Gujarat and this particular case of attack on Teesta, her husband Javed and their colleagues by the State. These repeated attempts by the state of Gujarat to push the activists on defensive line have constantly failed over 11 years. The response of the State is in contrary to the assurances of states in the UN Declaration of HRDs and in fact it emphasizes all the work that Teesta, Javed and their colleagues have been carrying on patiently and silently. HRDA also humbly requests the judiciary to be sensitive to the NGOs and civil society groups and refrain from passing generic statements having serious implication for people and their reputations, constantly working for human rights and development.

HRDA demands that the NHRC which is to organize a national workshop for Human Rights Defenders in New Delhi on the 19th February and to which it has also invited Teesta Setalvad to participate, will in effect ensure that it [the NHRC] intervenes before the Supreme Court of India in the anticipatory bail petition under Sec 12(b) of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993, because this is a matter which impinges on the human rights of human rights defenders. It is at times like this that an institutional protector of HRDs, like the NHRC has to take ‘extra-ordinary’ measures for extra-ordianry human rights defenders like Teesta.

HRDA reminds the higher Courts of this country that HRDs across the globe are now armed with a mandate from the U N Declaration on Human Rights Defenders 1998 which mandates them to: individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels. [Art 1]. HRDs also have the right to offer and provide professionally qualified legal assistance or other relevant advice and assistance in defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. [Art 9[3][C]. It is this engagement that Teesta and her colleagues have been engaging in Gujarat since 2002.

Henri Tiphagne
Honorary National Working Secretary
Human Rights Defenders Alert - India

— 
For more information and sources related to HRDA visit www.hrdaindia.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hrdefendersalert

Human Rights Defenders Alert - India,
National Coordination Office,
6, Vallabai Road, Madurai 625002.
Tamil Nadu, India
Mobile: +91-9994368540

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9. Statement issued by SAHMAT

http://sacw.net/article10627.html

SAHMAT
Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust
29 Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi 110 001
T (011) 23381276, 23070787
E sahmat8 at yahoo.com
W www.sahmat.org

16.2.2015

Politics of Vendetta Shall not Defeat the Cause of Justice - Statement in Solidarity with Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand

Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, who have fought a long and heroic battle to advance the cause of justice for Gujarat’s 2002 pogrom, face possible prosecution on charges of financial misappropriation. We see this as a clear case of the politics of vendetta launched with explicit intent to whitewash and efface from public memory the misdeeds of those who today wield political power in the state and centre.

As the government headed by Narendra Modi launches a fresh investigation into the 1984 carnage on the streets of Delhi – a measure that we would welcome except for the obvious partisan motivation behind it – we are shocked to see this persisting spirit of vendetta against an effort to enforce legal and moral accountability for an equally horrific massacre in Gujarat.

The Gujarat police’s alacrity in turning up at the doorstep of Teesta and Javed’s Mumbai residence within minutes after the High Court in Gandhinagar pronounced that it would not entertain their plea for anticipatory bail, suggests an intent to bully and intimidate. The ostensible reason, that Teesta and Javed are required for “custodial interrogation” is an unwitting, but nonetheless chilling confession of the Gujarat police’s real intent.

We have serious doubts about the bonafide of the complainants in this matter, but have taken the trouble of familiarising ourselves with the nature of the charges they make. An utterly trivial complaint has been inflated by the prosecution into charges involving crores, when the actual magnitude of funds received for the impugned purpose – building a museum of remembrance in Ahmedabad for victims of communal violence – was a mere Rs 4.6 lakh. These funds were received in the accounts of Sabrang, one among two trusts that have been engaged in the cause of justice for the 2002 riots. The other trust of which Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand are executive functionaries – Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) – has received far larger donations for the cause of pursuing avenues of legal redress for the 2002 victims and survivors. Curiously, every withdrawal for petty cash expenses for the activities of the Trust has been portrayed by the prosecution as an instance of defalcation for personal ends. Honrarium or salaries paid to Teesta and Javed have been similarly presented, though these are fully in conformity with memoranda of understanding and agreements arrived at between their trusts and donor agencies.

There are several such patent distortions of fact in the prosecution case. For their part, Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, we understand, have submitted all relevant invoices clarifying the purposes of every one of the impugned cash withdrawals. These number some 11,000 documents and have been available with the investigating agencies for several weeks.

By way of background, we would like to recall that the Supreme Court has at least twice in past years, made adverse observations about the Gujarat state government’s campaign of vilification against Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand. The first such instance was in 2004, after elements within the ruling party in Gujarat pressured and in other ways induced a key witness in the Best Bakery case, Zaheera Sheikh, to change her testimony so that charges of obstructing the course of justice and perjury could be brought against Teesta. A second instance was in 2010-11, when malicious charges of exhuming the bodies of riot victims from their graves were brought and summarily dismissed as absurd by the highest court.

We are shocked at the tone of some of the media coverage, especially in some television news channels. These have made a bonfire of the basic principle of fairness and due process, which is the presumption of innocence. They have also shown more than the usual aversion to understanding issues of complexity, though these are not matters that would challenge more than the average intelligence.

We extend our solidarity to Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand in this hour of trial and reaffirm our unstinting support to the cause they are engaged in.

Irfan Habib
Noam Chomsky
Ashok Mitra
Romila Thapar
Amiya Kumar Bagchi
Vivan Sundaram
Prabhat Patnaik
Mushirul Hasan
Kumar Shahani
Aijaz Ahmad
Sheldon Pollock
Akeel Bilgrami
Nilima Sheikh
Mihir Bhattacharya
Saeed Mirza
Sashi Kumar
Ram Rahman
Sukumar Muralidharan
Aashish Yadav
Aban Raza
Abdullah A Rahman
Abha Dev Habib
Abhilasha Kumari
Adil Qureshi
Aditya Mukherjee
Aditi Chowdhury
Aditi Raina
Ahmar Raza
Akila Jayaraman
Ali Ahmad
Ali Akbar Mehta
Amar Farooqui
Ameet Parmeswaran
Amol Saghar
Anant Raina
Anil Bhatti
Anil Chandra
Anil Nauria
Anil Sadgopal
Anisha Imhasly
Anita Cherian
Anjali Raina
Annie Chatterji
Annie Mathew
Anuradha Chenoy
Anuradha Kapur
Archana Hande
Archana Prasad
Arjun Dev
Arpana Caur
Asad Zaidi
Asoknath Basu
Attaullah
Atul Bhardwaj
Ayesha Kidwai
B P Sahu
Badri Raina
Bhanu Mehta
Bharati Kapadia
Bina Sarkar
Biswamoy Pati
Bratati Pande
C P Chandrasekhar
Caecillia Tripp
Carol Rovane
Chanchal Chauhan
Chandana Mathur
Chitra Joshi
D N Jha
Daanish Raj
Dev Benegal
Dinesh Abrol
Dinesh Mohan
Estelle Desai
Gaurav S
Gautam Arora
Geeta Kapur
Geeti Das
Githa Hariharan
Gulammohammed Sheikh
Hans Kaushik
Harish J Padmanabhan
Harsh Kapoor
Hassan Suroor
Indira Arjun Dev
Indira Chandrasekhar
Indrapramit Roy
Iqtidar Alam Khan
Ira Raja
Ishrat Alam
Jaikrishan Agarwala
Jamshed Chenoy
Janaki Nair
Jauhar Kanungo
Javed Malick
Jayati Ghosh
Jehangir Jani
K M Venugopalan
K Satchidanandan
K M Shrimali
Kabir Chandra
Kamal Mitra Chenoy
Kanad Sinha
Kanishka Prasad
Kannan Sundaram
Kaushik Mukhopadhayay
Keval Arora
Kirtana Kumar
Krishna Shekhawat
Kumi Chandra
Kumkum Sangari
Kunal Chakrabarti
L Jagannath
Lata Singh
Lawrence Surendra
Lima Kanungo
M K Raina
Madan Gopal Singh
Madhu Prasad
Malini Bhattacharya
Manu Chandra
Maya K Rao
Meera Devidayal
Meera Menezes
Mira Chandra
Mithu Sen
Mitul Baruah
Mohan Rao
Mohd. Arif
Moloyashree Hashmi
Mridula Mukherjee
Mukul Mangalik
N K Sharma
Nalini Malani
Neeraj Malick
Nilima Sheikh
Nina Rao
Pabitra Sarkar
Padmaja Shah
Partha Chatterjee
Parthiv Shah
Partho Datta
Prabhat Shukla
Prabir Purkayastha
Prachi Narayan
Praveen Jha
Pushpamala N
R Vijayashankar
R K Poddar
R C Thakran
R G Mukhopadhyay
Radhika Desai
Radhika Menon
Rahul Verma
Rajendra Prasad
Rajinder Arora
Rajni Bhagat Arora
Rakhshanda Jalil
Rani Ray
Rashmi Kaleka
Ratnabali Chattopadhyay
Ritambhara Shastri
Rubin D’Cruz
Ruchira Gupta
Rustom Bharucha
S Kalidas
Saeed Mirza
Saif Mahmood
Smita Gupta
Savita Singh
Seema Mustafa
Shahana Bhattacharya
Shaina Anand
Shakti Kak
Shankar Chandra
Shankhayan Chowdhury
Sharmila Samant
Sheba Chhachhi
Sherna Dastur
Shikha Jhingan
Shireen Jungalwala
Shireen Moosvi
Shivaji Panikkar
Shubhra Chakrabarti
Siddharth Varadarajan
Sujata Madhok
S K Das
Sohail Hashmi
Sonia Jabbar
Subhashini Ali
Sumesh Sharma
Sumit Chowdhury
Sunil Kothari
Suvira Jaiswal
Syed Hasan Kazim
Syeda Hameed
Tarun Majumdar
Tirthankar Chattopadhyay
Tushar Joag
Upendra Trivedi
Utsa Patnaik
Varunika Saraf
Vasudha Thozhur
Veer Munshi
Vikas Rawal
Vinoo Mathew
Virendra Saini
Vishwamohan Jha
Xavier Dias
Zasha Colah
Zoya Hasan

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10. Statement by several international women’s organisations

source: http://www.siawi.org/article8906.html

14 February 2015

Statement of Solidarity with Human Rights Defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, India

As international networks and organisations concerned with equality between all citizens before the law, standing for secularism as prevention of communalism, we are closely following and monitoring the case against human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and husband Javed Anand in India.

We noted with great concern that it is not the first allegation made against them in the past few years, in the vain hope, it seems, to stop them from asking the right questions to government after the 2002 Gujarat massacre, pursuing accountability of Hindu-right organizations and persons for communal violence and religious-ethnic cleansing, and standing for the victims and survivors.
Teesta Setalavad filed 68 court cases on their behalf.

Having closely followed their work for a long time, even prior to the 2002 massacres , we know their personal integrity and have no doubt that, just like with previous false allegations made against them, the present allegation will also been discarted as fabricated in the court of law.

However, we noted the swiftness with which the police came to arrest them, as soon as they saw a legal opportunity to do so. We are therefore concerned with their safety. Attempting to arrest them for interrogation – on accusations of misuse of funds ! – simply amounts to harassment and intimidation of these rights defenders.

Moreover, their accounts have been frozen for more than 8 months, making their human rights work on behalf of the Gujarat victims and survivors more and more difficult to sustain, as well as their own legal defense. This seems like a deliberate attempt by the BJP government of Gujarat to silence these defenders.

We will be making sure that the case is being watched internationally. Several international networks have been alerted, and the relevant UN Special Rapporteurs are being approached to ensure their security as human rights defenders.

In solidarity

Signed:

  • Secularism Is a Women’s Issue-SIAWI
  • Women Living Under Muslim Laws-WLUML
  • One Law For All
  • Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain-CEMB
  • Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
  • Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran
  • Bread and Roses TV
  • Southall Black Sisters
  • Center for Secular Space
  • VP Atheist Coalition Poland
  • Europejska Feministyczna Inicjatywa
  • Association for Women’s Rights in development -AWID
  • Association for Progressive Communications

Individuals:

Marieme Helie Lucas, Algeria/France
Fatou Sow, Sénégal
Maryam Namazie,Iran/UK
Kate Smurthwaite, comedian and activist, UK
Pragna Patel, UK
Chris Moos, Secularist activist and researcher, UK
Prof. Nira Yuval Davis, UK
Gita Sahgal, Director Center for Secular Space India/UK
Hameeda Hossain, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Nina Sankari, Poland
Codou Bop, Sénégal
Ariane Brunet, women’s rights activists, Quebec.
Anissa Helie, Algeria/USA
Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Campaigner, UK
Sultana Kamal, Women’s Rights Defender, Bangladesh
Elham Manea
Prof. Charlotte Bunch USAisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran

o o o

11. Statement by PUCL

http://sacw.net/article10649.html

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 at gmail.com; pucl.natgensec at gmail.com

18th February, 2015

PUCL Statement

Stop Persecution, by False Prosecution, of Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand!

The PUCL welcomes the Supreme Court granting an immediate stay on the Gujarat High Court order permitting the custodial interrogation of journalists and Human Rights Defenders, Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, while refusing to grant them anticipatory bail. The Gujarat High Court passed its order on the 12th of February in the FIR of alleged misappropriation of funds collected for building a memorial for the 2002 and other riot victims of the Gulbarg Society in Ahmedabad. In the same matter it also granted bail to three other accused of the same charge.

This is not the first time that Teesta Setalvad is being targetted through false FIRs. Earlier too in the Best Bakery case of Vadodara and the Exhumation case of Panchmahals, there were efforts to malign the name and credibility of journalists Teesta and Javed Anand; however, both were stayed by the Supreme Court. It also cannot be ignored that it was through the efforts of Teesta, Javed and other activists of Gujarat and outside, that 117 people have been given life imprisonment for perpetrating the 2002 Gujarat mass killings, including Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani. Incidentally Gujarat state is the only one where so many victims of communal violence have got justice, thanks to the untiring efforts of human rights defenders like Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand, CJP and others.

PUCL had brought to the attention of the NHRC the type of persecution and prosecution by Gujarat police of Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand and the CJP for persistently seeking justice for the victims of the communal holocaust in Gujarat in 2002 following the Godhra incidents. We had pointed out that the, “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”.

Seen in this backdrop the dogged and repeated demand of the Gujarat police seeking the arrest and “custodial interrogation” of Teesta and Javed is a matter of grave concern.

Firstly, we would like to highlight that legally the direction of the Gujarat High Court seeking custodial interrogation is in violation of the fundamental right under Art. 20(3) of the Constitution that “No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself”.

Secondly, we would like to point out that factually during the pendency of the anticipatory bail before the Gujarat High Court, Teesta and Javed in obedience to the directions of the court had presented themselves regularly before the investigation officers. They were subjected to hours of questioning each time during which they fully cooperated. Reportedly all documents including audited accounts, bank statements of the individuals and the Trust, resolutions of trustees and so on were submitted. Voluminous documents were filed before the Gujarat High Court as well. Hence the insistence of the Gujarat police for `custodial interrogation’ appears to be more a veiled threat of third degree methods and torture than any genuine necessity for investigation.

PUCL would like to point out that the SC has clearly spelt out the law relating to arrest and custodial interrogation in the landmark case of `Joginder Kumar vs State of UP’ (1994). The SC has pointed out that arrest and detention in police lock-up of a person can cause incalculable harm to the reputation and self-esteem of a person and therefore no arrest can be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of commission of an offence made against a person. Pointing out that it would be “prudent for a police officer in the interest of protection of the constitutional rights of a citizen and perhaps in his own interest that no arrest should be made without a reasonable satisfaction reached after some investigation as to the genuineness and bona fides of a complaint and a reasonable belief both as to the person’s complicity and even so as to the need to effect arrest”. Stressing that denying a person of her / his liberty is a serious matter the SC said, “A person is not liable to arrest merely on the suspicion of complicity in an offence. There must be some reasonable justification in the opinion of the officer effecting the arrest that such arrest is necessary and justified. Except in heinous offences, an arrest must be avoided if a police officer issues notice to person to attend the Station House and not to leave the Station without permission would do.” ((1994) 4 SCC 260 at page 267, emphasis ours).

Very importantly, the apex court also pointed out that “No arrest can be made because it is lawful for the police officer to do so. The existence of the power to arrest is one thing. The justification for the exercise of it is quite another. The police officer must be able to justify the arrest apart from his power to do so”. The court thereafter pointed out that arrest and custodial interrogation that follows should be only in the following circumstances: (i) if the accused persons will flee justice or (ii) tamper with evidence or (iii) intimidate witnesses. The ruling of the Supreme Court is now a statutory safeguard incorporated in section 41 of the Criminal Procedure Code as amended in 2010.

None of these three situations exists in the case of Teesta and Javed, who have been regularly appearing before the authorities. They have always produced required documents even when it was clear that the police were on a fishing expedition desperately trying to find some evidence to pin against them. It is necessary also to point out that the accusation against Teesta and Javed are not of having committed heinous offences but financial ones, all of which can be established or disproved mainly on documentary evidences.

PUCL is disturbed by the other sweeping and unwarranted comments made by the Gujarat High Court about the role of individuals and NGOs. We are however confident that the Hon’ble Supreme Court will ensure that justice is eventually done as the judiciary is the only bulwark against abuse of power by the executive against human rights defenders.

Prof. Prabhakar Sinha President, PUCL
Dr. V. Suresh General Secretary, PUCL