Continued vendetta against Teesta Setalvad condemned by Indian Americans

CBI raids on Teesta’s home and offices are payback for years of fearless advocacy for victims of Gujarat 2002 pogroms

July 15, 2015

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos,  has condemned the latest episode in the BJP government’s continued vendetta against renowned human rights activist Teesta Setalvad.  The government has unleashed a CBI probe against Ms. Setalvad, her associates as well as the organization she has spearheaded in her struggle for justice for the victims of Gujarat pogroms of 2002. The raids on Ms. Setalvad’s home and offices come in the wake of the Supreme Court approving her anticipatory bail in a different case being pursued against her by the Gujarat government.

The CBI probe was initiated on the orders of the Home Ministry, that is alleging irregularities in some foreign contributions received by Sabrang Communications, headed by Teesta. Raids were carried out despite Ms. Setalvad’s assurances to the CBI that she and her organization would cooperate fully with the investigation. In the case against her filed by the Gujarat government, Ms. Setalvad’s organization Sabrang Trust had provided detailed responses to all the questions raised by the BJP-led government. As in previous attempts at harassing and intimidating Ms. Setalvad, the intent is clearly to browbeat her into submission and hamper the crucial work she and her organization are engaged in, in the cause of justice and accountability.

“The fact that the BJP governments, both at the state and central level have resorted to using the state security apparatus to intimidate a tireless worker for justice represents an affront to the constitutional guarantees of equality before the law for all citizens,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “It is ironical that the BJP had alleged that the CBI was a ‘politcal tool’ in the hands of the ruling party, when the BJP itself was in the opposition,” added Mr. Malick.
In stark contrast to the repressive measures against Ms. Setalvad and other human rights activists and whistleblowers, is the reprieve given to several accused in the Gujarat pogroms of 2002, at the behest of the BJP government. In February this year, 70 accused were acquitted by a local court in north Gujarat, while the Gujarat High Court granted bail to  convicted mass murderer Ms. Maya Kodnani on the pretext that her appeal was pending.  The dismal conviction rate in cases connected to the Gujarat pogroms, shows the government’s complete lack of interest in pursuing those that killed and raped with impunity.

“The government’s gunning for Teesta Setalvad does not diminish the gravity of the crimes committed by the perpetrators of the Gujarat pogroms of 2002, and the culpability of those in the administration that were complicit in the mass violence,” said Mr. Khalid Ansari, Vice President of IAMC. “Despite attempts by these culprits to subvert the justice system, the long arm of the law will surely catch up with them,” added Mr. Ansari.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation.   For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com 

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:
CBI Raids Activist Teesta Setalvad’s Residence, Office in Mumbai
http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/cbi-raids-activist-teesta-setalvads-residence-office-in-mumbai-781228
Modi government’s hounding of Teesta Setalvad is a message to all dissidents
http://scroll.in/article/740762/modi-governments-hounding-of-teesta-setalvad-is-a-message-to-all-dissidents
“The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future” Martha Nussbaum, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2009)
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