Statements against the harassment of Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand

July 17, 2015

CPDR condemns the hounding of Teesta Setalvad & Javed Anand and demands for a CBI scrutiny of foreign funds received by VHP

The Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), strongly condemns the Modi-government’s blatant hounding of activists and organizations that are opposing its anti-people development schemes on the one hand and its communal agenda on the other. The latest and most venengful so far has been the attempt to muzzle Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and the Trust set up by them, Sabrang Communications, along with another associate Gulam Mohammed Peshimam.

The first year of BJP rule has been marked by brutal bulldozing of all forms of dissent. While the plank for attacking NGOs was whether the foreign funds received by them violated FCRA regulations, the government is selective in targeting only those organisations who oppose their agenda. In January this year, Green Peace India spokesperson Priya Pillai was offloaded as she was about to board a UK-bound flight to campaign against coal block allocations in Mahan, Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh. But the dubious foreign funds received by the RSS-affiliated Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) will never be brought under a scanner by this government. Daylight murders of RTI activists, or of senior left leaders like Narendra Dhabolkar and Govind Pansare for their anti-Hindutva, anti-superstition campaigns are deliberately left unsolved by the establishment which shows the government’s complicity in these murders. The country is currently in shock by continuing killings of scores of witnesses in infamous Vyapam and Asaram cases, which cannot happen without overt or covert blessings of the ruling establishment.

The shocking 14th July CBI raid on Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand’s home and office in Mumbai is the latest example of the impunity of this government. Under the pretext of search and seizure of documents, the raid was meant to publicly humiliate and threaten Teesta and Javed and their family. The more sinister motive is of course to remove the thorn in the government’s flesh as these activists are actively pursuing the Zakia Jafri case and the Naroda Patiya appeals among many others related to the 2002 Gujarat anti-Muslim pogrom.

The Zakia Jafri case begins its final hearings on July 27 before a magistrate’s court in Ahmedabad, while the Naroda Patiya appeals against convictions filed by Maya Kodnani and Babu (Bajrangi) are being heard in the Gujarat High Court this week.

The Modi-government talks of applying the Gujarat model of governance for the whole country. The Gujarat special judge, Ms Jyotsna Yagnik, complained in May this year about receiving 22 threats since retirement, for awarding convictions in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case. Instead of enhancing her security, the BJP state government scaled it down! Among those named as accused by Ehsan Jafri’s widow Zakia Jafri for the cold-blooded murder of her husband in March 2002 is the then-joint CP, Crime Branch, A K Sharma, who is now in the CBI!

While CBI has been exposed in the past for serving as mere pawn in the hands of the Centre, it is for the first time that such a massive corruption case has been mounted against human rights activists.

The promised `Acche Din’ have definitely arrived – for scamsters like Lalit Modi, industrialists and the political patrons of the Hindutva agenda. While human rights defenders, journalists, RTI activists, and people’s organizations are being attacked and threatened daily.

CPDR condemns the targeting of NGOs and activists like Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand and demands that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad be brought under the scrutiny of the FCRA for the crores of rupees of unaccounted for foreign funds that they are the recipient of.

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STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF TEESTA SETALVAD

We the undersigned express our profound dismay and disquiet at the continued official harassment by the central government of leading human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and Jawed Anand. Since the installation of the BJP led government in Delhi in May 2014, the country has witnessed open strenuous official efforts to foist a large variety of charges of financial irregularity on them, to harass them, to tarnish their reputations, and to secure their arrests. Fortunately the interventions of the higher judiciary have protected them so far. However the latest raids by the Central Bureau of Investigation into their home and offices in Mumbai on 14 July 2015 are signs of continuing open misuse of official bodies to harass these human rights defenders.

It is well-known that Teesta Setalvad and Jawed Anand have fought an unrelenting battle not only to bring to book criminals who committed gruesome hate crimes against Muslims in the carnage of 2002, but 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.

What we are witnessing is 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 defence of justice which charge the country’s current leadership with complicity in hate crimes. The veracity of their charges will be decided in the country’s courts. But their right to fight for justice on behalf of the survivors of one of the most shameful communal carnages in the history of free India is protected by India’s democracy. 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. These must be powerfully resisted by all democratic voices in the country.

Released by

Shabnam Hashmi, ANHAD
July 15, 2015 5pm

Endorsed by:
A R F Viegas, Engineer, Ngo
Abhay Shirekar, St. Michael’s Church, Vasai, Maharashtra
Ajaya Kumar Singh, Social Activist, Odisha Forum for Social Action,
Ajay Skaria, historian, University of Minnesota
Ajith Pillai, journalist
Ali Javed (Gen. Secretary, All India Progressive Writers Association, Delhi)
Amalendu Upadhyaya, Editor- hastakshep.com
Amar Kanwar, Filmmaker, New Delhi
Amit Bhaduri, Prof Emeritus, JNU, New Delhi
Amit Sengupta, Journalist and academic
Amita Buch, academician, Gujarat
Anand Swaroop Verma, Delhi
Angela L Viegas, Professional,Mumbai,
Anil Chamadia
Anil Nauriya, advocate, Delhi
Anoushka L Viegas, Graduate,Mumbai,
Anu Chenoy, Professor, JNU
Anubha Rastogi, lawyer, Mumbai
Apoorvanand, academician, Delhi
Arshia Ahmed Ayub, Counselling psychologist
Aruna Roy, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)
Arundhati Dhuru NAPM
Ashis Nandy, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
Ashok Bikram Jairu, Executive Director, NNSWA Central Office, Kanchanpur
Atul Sood, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Ayaz Siddiqui Communication engineer
Battini Rao, People’s Alliance for Democracy and Seculariam (PADS)
Bhavna Ramrakhiani, ACF, Gujarat
Biju Mohan, Executive Director, MBL Media School, Kozhikode
Brinelle D’Souza, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social
Sciences. Deonar, Mumbai
BRP Bhaskar, journalist, Kerala
CV Vergis
C Drego, Private Employment, Mumbai, Maharashtra
D. W. Karuna, Historian, Chennai
Darryl D’Monte, Chairperson, Forum of Environmental Journalists of India (FEJI)
Dhirendra Panda, Convener, Civil Society Forum on Human Rights (CSFHR)
Dinesh Abrol, Delhi
Dilip Simeon
Dinesh Mohan, Professor IIT Delhi (Retired)
Dr. Abey George, State Coordinator, NCPRI Kerala
Dr. Anant Phadke, Pune
Dr Indra Munshi, Former Head and Professor, Dept of Sociology,
University of Mumbai,
Dr. Mohan Rao , Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, JNU
Dr. Munish Alagh. Profession: Economist, Ahmedabad
Dunu Roy, Engineer, Hazards Centre, Delhi
Faiz Siddiqui Bank executive
Farah Naqvi, Writer and Activist, Delhi
Fr Maverick Fernandes, President, Council for Social Justice and Peace, Goa
Fr Savio Fernandes, Executive Secretary, Council for Social Justice
and Peace, Goa.
Fr. Cedric Prakash sj, Director, PRASHANT, Gujarat
Fr. Freddy Braganca, General Secretary, Centre for Responsible Tourism, Goa
G.M. Sheikh, Artist, Gujarat
Gabriele Dietrich, NAPM I endorse this statement
Gautam Thaker, General Secretory PUCL Gujarat
Geeta Kapur, Independent Art Writer, Delhi
Geeta Seshu, Journalist, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Ghanshyam Shah, academician, Gujarat
Ghiasuddin Akbar, Member ; Apna Watan & Help Hyderabad.
Githa Hariharan, Writer
Hanif Lakdawala, Social Activist, Gujarat
Harsh Kapoor,
Harsh Mander, Aman Biradari
Henri Tiphagne, National Working Secretary , Human Rights Defenders Alert India
I A Siddiqui Retd engineer
Indira Chandrasekhar, Tulika Books, Delhi
Indira Jaising, Founder, Lawyer’s Collective, Delhi
Indu Prakash Singh, Social Activist, Forum Against Corruption & Threats (FACT)
Irfan Engineer, All India Secular Forum
Ishwarbhai Prajapati, Jan Sangharsh Manch,Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Jai Sen, CACIM
Jaya Mehta (Sandarbh Collective, Indore)
Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Jharna Pathak, Profession: Researcher, Ahmedabad Women’s Action Group.
John Dayal
John Paul Lobo, De Nobili College, Nagar Road, Ramvadi, Pune
Joy Sengupta, actor, Mumbai
Jyoti Punwani freelance journalist Mumbai
Kalyani Menon-Sen , Feminist Learning Partnerships, Gurgaon
Kamal Chenoy, Prof. JNU
Kamal Faruqi, FCA, Former Chairman Delhi Minorities Commission
Khalid Azam (United States)
Kiran Shaheen, Writer and Anti Poverty Activist
Kumar Ambuj (Member of Presidium, M. P. Progressive Writers Association)
Kumar Prashant, journalist, sarvodaya activist
L Viegas, professional,Mumbai,
Lalita Ramdas – Hyderabad
Lena Ganesh, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Lynette Gomes, Computer professional,Mumbai,
M Cherian Kunjumon, Bombay Catholic Sabha, Mumbai.
M. V. Ramana, Princeton University, USA
Mallika Sarabhai, ARTIST, Gujarat
Manan Trivedi, social activist, Gujarat
Manisha Sethi, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association.
Manoranjan Siba Sankar Mohanty
Mazher Hussain, Social Activist, Hyderabad
Meenakshi Ganguly, Mumbai
Meera Samson, Collaborative Research and Dissemination, New Delhi
Meher Engineer, Independent Scientist, Kolkata, WEst Bengal
Mohammed Ashfaq
Mohd Aamir, social activist, Delhi
Mrs Praxedes Gomes, Sr Citizen & home maker, Mumbai.
Mujahid Nafees, Education activist, Gujarat
Myron J. Pereira , former director of Xavier Institute of
Communications, Mumbai)
N.D.Jayaprakash, Social Activist, Delhi
Nandini Rao, women’s rights activist
Nandini Sundar, Professor, Delhi University
Naresh Fernandes, Journalist.
Neeraj Jain, Lokayat, Pune and Socialist Party (India)
Naseeruddin Shah theatre and film actor and director
Nasreen Fazalbhoy, Mumbai Maharashtra.
Navaid Hamid, MOEMIN, Delhi
Neha Shah, College teacher, Ahmedabad
Nikhil Dey, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)
Nilima Shaikh, artist, Vadodara, Gujarat
Nityanand Jayaraman, writer/social activist, Chennai
Noorjahan Diwan, social activist, Gujarat
Noorjehan Safia Niaz, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
Ovais Sultan Khan, People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism
P. K. Datta – Teacher- Delhi University – Delhi
Pallab Sengupta, General Secretary, All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Journalist, Delhi
Prabhat Patnaik, Professor Emeritus, JNU.
Prabir Purkayashta
Priya Pillai, Environmental Activist , Greenpeace India.
Prof Aditya Mukherjee, Historian, JNU
Prof. Anjali Monteiro, TISS, Mumbai
Prof. K.P. Jayasankar, TISS, Mumbai
Prof Mridula Mukherjee, Historian, JNU
Prof Rooprekha Verma, Saajhi Duniya’s , Former VC, Lucknow University
Prof. Shohini Ghosh, Academic, Delhi.
Pushpa Iyer, Associate Profesor, California.
Pyoli, Samajwadi Janparishad
Radha Khan, Chairperson & Trustee DAJI , New Delhi
Rahul Pandey, entrepreneur and academic,Bangalore, Karnataka
Rammanohar Reddy, Economic & Political Weekly, Mumbai
Ramu Ramdas – Alibag
Ranjan Solomon, Badayl/Alternatives, GOA
Robin Viegas, Hon Secretary, Bombay Catholic Sabha, Kalina Unit,
Romila Thapar, Academician
Roselle Solomon, Counselor, Regina Mundi High School, Goa
S. Hasan Kamal, South Asians for Unity, Atlanta, GA, USA
Sadanand Menon – journalist, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Saheli Women’s Resource Centre
Sandeep Pandey Socialist Party
Sarika Shrivastava (NFIW, Madhya Pradesh)
Satish Deshpande, academician, Delhi
Satya Sivaraman, Journalist
Shabnam Hashmi, social activist, Anhad
Shahiuz Zaman Niaz AhmedShekhar Mallik
PWA, Ghatshila, Jharkhand
Shalini Gera,JagLAG, Chattisgarh
Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)
Shariq Siddiqui Photography professional
Shashank Kela, Writer, Chennai
Shivani Taneja, Educationist, Bhopal, M.P.
Siddharth Varadarajan, journalist, Delhi
Sofiya Khan, social activist, Gujarat
Sohail Hashmi, filmmaker, One Billion Rising /Dwarka, New DelhiPravin
Joseph Philip
Healthy Neighborhood Communications, Kerala
Soumya Dutta, Convenor -Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha, India
Subhash Anand
Subhash Gatade, New Socialist Initiative
Sukla Sen, social activist, EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity), Mumbai
Sumit Sarkar, Retired professor of History, University of Delhi
Suvrat Raju, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (Tata
Institute of Fundamental Research), Bangalore
Syeda Hameed, former member, Planning Commission
T I Siddiqui Retd bank executive
Tauseef H. Mukadam, Profession: Airline Pilot, Karnataka
Tanika Sarkar, Retired professor of History, JNU.
Tushar A. Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi Foundation, Maharashtra.
Uma V Chandru, Activist, Bangalore
Varghese Manimala
Vineet Tiwari (Gen. Secretary, Madhya Pradesh PWA)
Vipin K. Tripathi, Sadbhav Mission
Viranjeet Sandhu, student
Virendra Jain (Janwadi Lekhak Sangh, Bhopal)
Vivan Sundaram, artist, Aam Aadmi Party – DelhiJai Sen, CACIM
Walter Fernanes, former director, North Eastern Social Research Centre, Guwahati
Waqar Kazi, social activist, Gujarat
Wilfred Dcosta, Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), New Delhi
WSS (Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression)
Yousuf Saeed, Independent filmmaker, writer, New Delhi
Yusuf B.Shaikh, Advocate
Zaffarullah Khan, Advocate, Chennai
Zakia Soman Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
Zoya Hasan, academician, JNU

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PEOPLE’S ALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY AND SECULARISM (PADS)
Press Statement
14 July 2015

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

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

It may also be noted that a senior Public Prosecutor, Rohini Salian, has accused the NIA of showing a bias in favour of certain persons accused of terrorist crimes. None other than the respected Julio Rebeiro, retired Police Commissioner of Punjab, has asked the public to take serious note of what Ms Salian has alleged. Furthermore, a Gujarat special judge, Ms Jyotsna Yagnik, stated in May this year that she has received 22 threats since retirement, on account of her role in convicting those responsible for the Naroda Patiya massacre in 2002. Her security cover was not enhanced, but scaled down.

It is also noteworthy that the final hearings in the Zakia Jafri Criminal Revision Application are due to begin on July 27. Mrs Jafri seeks to make top-level politicians, including the then Gujarat chief minister, and top-level policemen, including the present Commissioner of Police, Shivanand Jha, former joint CP, Crime Branch, AK Sharma (now in the CBI ) answerable for criminal and administrative culpability for their role in 2002.

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