Skip to main content

US report: Gujarat govt moved against top activist Teesta Setalvad after she sought to indict Modi in 2002 riots

Counterview Desk
The latest US government's "India 2014 Human Rights Report" has criticized Gujarat government for filing a misappropriation case against well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad. This, it notes, was done "after a December 2013 decision by a Gujarat lower court rejecting a protest petition "to force the state to file criminal charges against then-Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and other officials for allegedly failing to stop Hindu reprisals in Gujarat in 2002."
The report states, "On January 5, Gujarat police filed a petition against human rights activists Teesta Setalvad, Javad Anand, Salim Sandhi, Feroz Gulzar Mohammed Pathan, and Tanvir Jafri for allegedly misappropriating funds donated to construct a memorial to the 2002 riots. The petition was filed after residents of the Gulberg Society, a housing complex, claimed that Setalvad misused 1.5 million rupees ($24,000) collected to build a memorial to the 69 persons killed during the 2002 riots."
Pointing out that Setalvad, one of the accused, is the founder of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), "a Mumbai-based organization responsible for numerous cases against alleged perpetrators of the 2002 Gujarat violence", the report points to how, throughout 2014, the state government "opposed activists’ anticipatory bail applications submitted to Gujarat and Mumbai courts in addition to the Indian Supreme Court."
Pointing to harassment, the report says, "On December 5, the Gujarat High Court required Setalvad and Anand to appear before their embezzlement case’s investigating officer on December 15 and 16 and again on January 1 and 2, 2015", the report says.
The report quotes activists' claim to say that "the case was malicious and in retaliation for their work on behalf of the victims in the Gujarat cases." Worse, it adds, "The state government froze CJP’s bank accounts on January 21 pending the investigation; the accounts remained frozen at the end of the year."
The report comes at a time when the Modi government is learnt to have decided that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should probe into another "misappropriation" case involving Setalvad -- the alleged transfer of funds by the Ford Foundation to the Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Limited (SCPPL), which she heads.
Giving a picture of continued state indifference towards the 2002 riot victims, the report quotes a recent Centre for Social Justice, Ahmedabad, study which found that more than a decade later there are "3,964 internally displaced Muslim families in 86 settlements in Gujarat."
It adds, "The study stated that 30 percent of the Internally Diplaced Persons (IDPs) had not received any government assistance and the rest had been inadequately compensated."
It further says, "The Gujarat government, which initially claimed there were no IDPs, continued to hold back compensation, although the central government directed it to provide compensation. There were reports the state government denied social welfare benefits to registered IDPs. Camps lacked basic amenities such as drinking water, power, sanitation, health care, and education."
The report also quotes civil society activists for continuing "to express concern about the Gujarat government’s failure to hold accountable those responsible for the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 persons, the majority of whom were Muslim."
It notes that that the Gujarat government-appointed the Nanavati-Mehta Commission, appointed to investigate the violence in 2002, completed its report in November and handed it over to the state government. Yet, "The state government did not release the report publicly." 
Meanwhile, the report regrets, "former state minister Maya Kodnani, who had been sentenced in 2012 to a 28-year prison term for her involvement in the violence, was released in July after a court suspended her sentence for health reasons."

Comments

TRENDING

Banned? Indian ports 'received' 38 US plastic waste containers reexported from Indonesia

By Rajiv Shah
An Indonesia-based international environmental watchdog group has dug out what it has called “a global pollution shell game”, stating how officials in Indonesia approved re-exports of “illegal” US waste shipments containing plastics mainly to India, as also to other Asian countries -- Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam -- instead of returning them to the US “as promised.”

Cops' 'inability' to deliver justice? Model Gujarat ranks 12th among 18 major states

By Rajiv Shah
A Tata Trusts study, released in Delhi on Thursday, has ranked “model” Gujarat 12th out of 18 major states it has analysed across India to “assess” the police's capacity to deliver justice. Several of the advanced states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as well as some of the so-called Bimaru states such as Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are found to have ranked better than Gujarat.

People's pressure? GPCB mining cancellation 'notice' to top cement unit in Gujarat

By Sagar Rabari*
Environmental Clearance (EC) was given to Ultratech Cement Co Ltd for limestone mining in villages Talli and Bambhor of Talaja taluka in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat on January 5, 2017. EC was issued ignoring, overriding and undermining opposition from local farmers to mining activity in the area. The mining in these two villages covers an area of 193.3268 hectares (ha), while the entire project is spread over an area of 1,715.1311 ha.

NHRC notice to Gujarat chief secretary following silicosis deaths in Rajkot

By Our Representative
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Gujarat chief secretary and the district magistrate, Rajkot, to respond to a complaint filed by health rights activist Jagdish Patel of the People's Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, regarding the alleged death of Raju Prakash Parihar and two others reportedly because of silicosis, a fatal occupation disease, in Rajkot, one of Gujarat’s top cities.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Bullet train acquisition: Land holding worth Rs 1.5 crore, Gujarat govt 'offer' Rs 8 lakh

By RK Misra*
Foundation stones laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi litter India’s cities, towns and villages, but there are few projects which he has pursued with such perseverance and tenacity as the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train one. However, the overwhelming state power notwithstanding, the farmers, whose lands are being acquired for the Modi government’s dream project, have no plans to give up the fight.

Concern in UK over BJP supporters, Hindu charity 'interfering' in general elections

By Our Representative
Following apprehensions of “foreign interference” in Canadian elections, which took place last month, from several countries, including India, a similar a concern is now reported with regard to the next month’s United Kingdom general elections. The concern has particularly come from Labour Party candidates, who are citing campaign by “India-linked Hindu nationalist group” targeting Labour candidates.