Setalvad and Anand find support from round the corners; Zakia Jafri prays for their victory

By Staff Reporter,

New Delhi: Several organizations have come in support for social activists couple Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand to stop their harassment at the hands of Gujarat Police.

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Teesta Setalvad is a civil rights activist and the secretary of CJP (Citizens for Justice and Peace) an organization formed for fighting for justice for the victims of communal violence in the state of Gujarat in 2002.

Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand (file photo) (Courtesy:

Gujarat police wants to arrest the noted human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand in Mumbai for investigation into a criminal case of misappropriation of Trust Funds collected on behalf of the victims of the Gujarat pogroms of 2002. The Supreme Court of India has stayed their arrests.

After Supreme Court of India stayed arrest of Teesta Setalwad an Indo-Kuwait Friendship Society, a non-resident Indian association in Kuwait sent a letter of appreciation to the Chief Justice of Indian Supreme Court for staying her arrest.

IKFS also sent letter to Amnesty International India, to support Teesta and asked for their deep involvement in protecting human right activists and demanded to help for immediate withdrawal of the motivated and baseless FIR against Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand, Tanvir Jafri and the office-bearers of the Gulberg Society.

The letter pointed out, “We, members of Indo-Kuwait Friendship Society were shocked and outraged by the continuing attempt of the highly vindictive Gujarat police to somehow implicate activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, along with three victim-survivors of the Gujarat carnage in 2002 on patently trumped-up charges. IKFS understands that the since Supreme Court appointed amicus curiae in the riot case, Raju Ramachandran, has told the apex court there was enough prima facie evidence to prosecute the culprits. Therefore, the latest malicious move to arrest her is a clear indicator that revenge is the shape of things to come and “Revenge” is the only motive of the vindictive” by the culprits.

Attorney and Lawyer Sayid Nizar, IKFS Vice President said that Teesta and Javed Anand are being especially targeted as they are among the founder members of Citizens For Justice and Peace (CJP) and have been at the forefront of the struggle for justice for the victims-survivors of the Gujarat pogrom. CJP is today nationally and internationally recognized and respected for the sustained efforts of its team of lawyers. Therefore, Supreme Court should consider to acquit the case itself for good faith and re-align the dignity of the members of CJP.

Afsar Pasha, National General Secretary of Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), in a statement lauded the Supreme Court decision for granting anticipatory bail to the beleaguered couple in a curious “embezzlement” case.

Pasha pointed out that while granting bail a two-bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai have observed: “This is a hundred percent spurious case to victimise the petitioner (Setalvad).” While criticising the state government for beginning the probe against Setalvad, it added, “this type of case does no credit to the state of Gujarat in any way and it was not correct on the part of the state government to go ahead with the case.” The bench asked senior advocate Pradeep Ghosh, who appeared for the Gujarat government, to go through the First Information Report (FIR) of the case and advise the government not to proceed with it.

He said that the Supreme Court observations in the case has not enhanced the reputation of the Gujarat Police which has been in hot pursuit of the couple soon after the state High Court had rejected the couple’s plea for anticipatory bail. He recalled that the police case was based on a complaint by 12 members of the Gulbarg Housing Society, which curiously refused to take note of the submission by the secretary and chairman of the Society that the case was false. The latter had also informed the police that the complainants had misused office stationery. That despite an official clarification from the Gulbarg Society, the police went ahead with the case looked clearly motivated. And now their overzealousness in seeking custodial interrogation of the couple nails their intent.

Pasha said that Teesta Setalvad had been working hard for the rights of the victims of Gujarat riots for the last 13 years against the then Narendra Modi led government complicit in the killings of Muslims during 2002 Gujarat pogrom. By chasing and harassing her, they are trying to terrorize India’s common man, he added.

He said that Teesta is an exceptional character in India’s human rights campaigns – she is the principal reason for getting justice, although partial, to the victims of the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat. For the first time in India, 117 perpetrators of communal violence, including a minister in the then Modi state cabinet, had been convicted. Had it not been for her and other rights activists, the victims would have been gagged to submission?

The Aligarh Muslim University Teachers’ Association (AMUTA) has also expressed serious concern over the move of the Gujarat government to arrest Teesta and Anand.

“AMUTA strongly feels that Teesta Setalvad is being harassed by the Gujarat government because she has been fearlessly and tirelessly fighting for the rights of these victims,” said Dr. Aftab Alam, Hony Secretary, AMUTA adding, “The move of the Gujarat government is also violative of the Supreme Court guidelines in the matter of arrest, said Dr. Aftab Alam, Hony Secretary, AMUTA. The Supreme Court in the landmark case of Joginder Kumar vs State of UP has ordered that 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.”

“The Aligarh Muslim University Teachers’ Association demands the Gujarat government to stop harassing Teesta Setalvad and her husband and withdraw all such cooked cases against her. AMUTA also appeals all human rights activists to rally behind Teesta Setalvad in this hour of crisis and put pressure on the Gujrat Govt to desist it from indulging such maliciousmalicious acts,” reads press release by AMUTA after Supreme Court stayed arrest of Teesta.

Meanwhile, Zakiya Jafri, the widow of INC MP Ahsan Jafri who was hacked to death during 2002 Gujarat pogrom also extended support to Teesta in her fight to bring the guilty of Gujarat riots to justice and has prayed for her safety and victory.

“We always pray for your safety and victory. We are sure that every of your move is in the direction of achieving justice to the oppressed of Gujarat riots. There is no one to understand our suffering better than you alone. We stand with you in this hour of time. We are with you, the people of India are with you”, she issued such words of solace for Teesta.