Skip to main content

Human Rights Watch demands: Stop politically-motivated intimidation of Teesta Setalvad

By Our Representative
Top US-based human rights organisation, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has asked the "authorities" in India to immediately end "politically motivated" intimidation and harassment of activists who have been pursuing justice for victims of the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat state. In a statement, HRW said, "While all NGOs should fully adhere to financial regulations, the Gujarat police has been acting to "undermine the human rights work of the activists Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand."
Giving full marks to Setalvad for her work in "supporting the riot victims and for seeking criminal charges against scores of officials, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for his alleged involvement in the riots as the state’s chief minister in 2002", the HRW suggested this is the main reason for the Gujarat police accusing the activists of "misusing" the funds donated to their NGOs, Citizens for Justice and Peace and Sabrang Trust. "The disputed fund transfers were used to reimburse them for legitimate work-related expenses", it underlined.
“The activists have agreed to cooperate though they believe the allegations are politically motivated. The Gujarat authorities should not use laws to sweep away serious human rights concerns,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at HRW. “Attempts to harass or discredit activists will not make the massive abuses during the 2002 Gujarat violence disappear."
"Gujarat officials have stalled efforts to investigate and prosecute riot cases, harassed and intimidated activists and lawyers involved, and in some instances obstructed justice", the HRW alleged, adding, "Following appeals by activists' and victims’ families, the Supreme Court ordered re-investigations, oversaw independent inquiries in some cases, or shifted trials out of Gujarat to ensure that they would be fair."
Pointing out that so far over a 120 people have been convicted for their role in the riots, including a member of the Gujarat state cabinet, the HRW said,in 2012 a Supreme Court-ordered investigation may have decided that there was not enough evidence to prove Modi’s direct complicity , yet the fact is that an amicus curiae – friend of the court – appointed by the court to monitor the process "concluded instead that Modi’s role should be investigated further on several counts".
Referring to a key witness whose testimony was dismissed by the investigation team, the amicus curiae noted that “the stage for believing or disbelieving a witness arises after trial i.e. once the entire evidence is placed before the court for its consideration”, said the HRW.
"Authorities in Gujarat had filed charges against Setalvad twice before, but the Supreme Court rejected them. In 2004, she was accused of coercing a witness into giving false evidence; in 2010, she was accused of illegally exhuming the bodies of riot victims," HRW said, adding, “Justice for India’s terrible tragedies, whether the 2002 Gujarat riots or the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, won’t happen so long as the authorities place roadblocks in the way".

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Did Netaji turn blind eye to Japanese massacre while in Andaman during World War-II?

Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani museum off Chandigarh By Rajiv Shah  Did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ignore the massacre carried out by the Japanese army in Andaman and Nicobar islands during the Second World War? It would seem so, if one goes by the account of Mohinder Singh Dhillon, who authored a book in memory of his father, 'A Titan in the Andamans, Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani'. Dr Diwan Singh was tortured to death by the Japanese soldiers in the cellular jail in Andaman in 1944.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Modi's Gujarat 'ignores' India's biggest donor of Azad Hind Fauj, Dhoraji's Habib Sheth

By Dr Hari Desai* One surely feels happy that the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is being installed near the India Gate in New Delhi. Every Indian and even Netaji’s 79-year-old daughter Prof Anita Bose Pfaff feels happy about the statue at the most important area of the capital. In an interview with an Indian TV, Anita, who is a German citizen, mentions that she thinks if not Netaji’s only Mahatma Gandhi’s statue should have been there. She may be aware that there existed a plan to install life-sized statue of the Father of the Nation at that place.  Even after differences with Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel which led Netaji to leave the Indian National Congress, Bose was the first person to call Mahtma Gandhi Father of the Nation on July 6,1944 in his Ragoon Radio broadcast, and sought Bapu’s blessings as the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army (INA). Till 1968 there was statue of King George V at India Gate. It was removed and placed in the Coronation Park, New Del

Is it time to celebrate India's 'improved' sex ratio? Reasons to question NFHS data

By Aditi Chaudhary*  The recently published National Family Health Survey (NFHS) factsheet brought cheers amongst the public and the government. With Child Sex ratio (number of females per 1000 males in the age group 0 - 6 years) and overall sex ratio (the total number of females per 1000 males), both showing an improvement, NFHS-5 (2019-21) got applauded by all around.

Stop harassment, release Kashmir rights defender Khurram Parvez: Global NGO

By Our Representative  Ahead of his hearing on January 21, 2022, CIVICUS , a global civil society alliance with more than 10,000 members worldwide, has called upon the Government of India to “immediately and unconditionally” release human rights defender Khurram Parvez. “The judicial harassment he is facing highlights the repressive environment for activists and critics in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir”, it said in a statement.