Skip to main content

Human rights lawyers Jaising, Grover being "punished" because they took up 2002 Gujarat riots cases

Indira Jaising
By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to Government of India decision to suspend top lawyer Indira Jaising-led NGO Lawyers’ Collective’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license to obtain funds from abroad to take up human rights cases in India, two well-known advocacy groups have said it is being “punished” for taking up the case of several human rights defenders of India.
In a statement, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) noted, Indira Jaising, along with her husband, Anand Grover, have “defended” in the Supreme court the cases of Priya Pillai of Greenpeace, Teesta Setalvad, Yakub Menon and Sanjiv Bhatt, former IPS officer from Gujarat”.
It further said, “Grover has also appeared in the case protesting the discharge of BJP National President Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin encounter case. The present action against the Lawyers Collective is calculated to create a climate of fear and intimidation in an attempt to silence anyone from challenging the present BJP Government.”
Anand Grover
Taking a similar line, Amnesty International said, “The lawyers have independently handled several important human rights cases, including representing activists seeking justice for the 2002 Gujarat violence and extrajudicial executions in the state.”
Amnesty added, “The FCRA has been used by successive governments as a political tool to suppress dissent and harass groups critical of government views and actions. In September 2015, the central government cancelled the FCRA registration of Greenpeace India and suspended the FCRA registration of an NGO run by activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand.”
Calling it a “persecution of senior advocates”, PUCL said, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is using “the coercive provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 in an arbitrary, biased and politically motivated manner.”
“The vindictiveness is evident from the fact that the order dated May 31, 2016 suspending the FCRA registration of Lawyers Collective for six months was leaked to the media even before it was formally communicated to either Jaising or Grover.
Teesta Setalvad, Sanjeev Bhatt, Priya Pillai
Earlier, in November 2015 Show Cause notices were reported to have been issued to the Lawyers Collective for “violation of FCRA”, even though no such Notice was received by the Lawyers Collective, PUCL said, adding, “Thus there is a pattern to the actions of the MHA.”
Amnesty said, the new foreign funding restrictions imposed on Lawyers Collective violate constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of expression and association”, adding, “There is no doubt that the government is being vindictive.”
“Lawyers Collective is being targeted because its office-bearers have taken on the government in a range of cases. The FCRA allegations are clearly a pretext to silence these dissenting voices,” said Aakar Patel, executive director, Amnesty International India.
Amnesty recalled that in April 2016, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association “reiterated that the ability to access foreign funding is an integral part of the right to freedom of association, and said that the FCRA restrictions were not in conformity with international law, principles and standards.”
“The FCRA provides a convenient cover for the government to go after NGOs it does not like,” said Aakar Patel, adding, “NGOs can of course be required to be transparent and accountable about their activities and sources of funding. But laws like the FCRA should not be used to obstruct organizations from receiving foreign funding for legitimate work.”

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.