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India: In Defence of Teesta Setalvad and others - Solidarity Demos on 16 July 2015 in Delhi and Elsewhere - Statement, Press release and Photos

by sacw.net, 16 July 2015

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Photos from Delhi - Jantar Mantar Sit In on 16 July 2015

PRESS RELEASE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A STATEMENT IS ALSO BEING ISSUED ALONG WITH THIS PRESS RELEASE

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

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

see photos from Bombay:

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Photo: Film and Television Institute of India Students in Pune hold a solidarity for Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand

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News Coverage:

http://www.livemint.com/Politics/nYXqL1AU6Oa9E0KRDNs5sL/Activists-hold-protests-in-support-of-Teesta-Setalvad.html