The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) condemns the Gujarat Police move to arrest civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand in Mumbai.
Ms. Setalvad is the secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), an organization formed to fight for justice for the victims of communal violence in the state of Gujarat in 2002.
CJP is a co-petitioner seeking criminal trial of government officials and politicians, including the current Prime minister of India Narendra Modi who was the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002 when riots took place.
It’s alleged that in the 2002 Gujarat riots, nearly 2,000 Muslims were murdered besides there were incidents of rape, robbery, and widespread destruction of property affecting Muslims.
It was also alleged that the killings were executed at the behest of Narendra Modi. Although Indian courts have almost exonerated Modi in this case, most Muslims in India still believe that Modi was responsible for Gujarat massacre.
According to global human rights organization Human Rights Watch, the attacks against Muslims in Gujarat were actively supported by state government officials and by the police. Police told Muslims, “We don’t have any orders to save you.”
As a result, the U.S. administration denied visa to Modi in view of the allegations of human rights violations against him in the 2002 incidents of riots and carnage. But when he became PM of India, Modi was allowed to visit the U.S.
As Ms. Setalvad has been working to get the culprits of Gujarat riots punished, many believe that she and her husband are being framed in false cases – especially when Modi has become the PM.
In 2013, twelve residents of the Gulbarg Society who were the victim of Gujarat riots, accused Setalvad of collecting donations in the name of riot victims but failing to use them for their benefit and sent a legal notice to her.
As the case is still in the court, Gujarat High Court rejected Setalvad’s anticipatory bail plea on Thursday, February 12. However, the next day the Supreme Court of India agreed to hear her bail plea and stayed arrest for a week, till February 19.
Teesta Setalvad in conversation with Brinda Karat, the first woman member of the CPI(M) Politburo.
“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,” stated CPI(M) in a statement issued Thursday.
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