Skip to main content

Emergency-type judgment, ruthlessness: 260 prominent persons on arrest of Teesta, others

Teesta Setalvad, RB Sreekumar, Sanjiv Kumar
Counterview Desk 
As many as 260 prominent human rights activists, intellectuals, journalists, artists and community leaders from all over the world, strongly condemning the arrest of human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and former Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar, and former Gujarat cadre IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt (already in prison for over 18 months) as well as journalist and fact checker Mohammed Zubair in India, have said that what the present government is doing is “Governance by Fear” in its rawest form.
As part of the newly launchedbroad-based alliance, Solidarity for the Prisoners of Conscience in India, they add, “On the anniversary of the Emergency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have the habit of issuing statements condemning the Emergency as a dark chapter in the history of independent India, one imposed to quell dissent and free voice. But both of them are doing much worse now.”

Text:

We the undersigned, concerned citizens of the world, and representing various human rights organizations, condemn the arrest of veteran human rights leader, Teesta Setalvad and other Human Rights Defenders. These are Prisoners of Conscience in India, and all such prisoners must be freed.
June 25, 2022 marked the 47th anniversary of the dark era of an Emergency in India, when a government hijacked the whole edifice of the state. The ruling party and its leader treated the state as their personal estate. It was the imposition of a highly concentrated apparatus of power on a fundamentally free and federal society, and the turning over of this centralized apparatus for personal vengeance and pursuit of raw political power. It was one fell swoop overtaking the whole country, spreading a psychosis of fear and terror.
It was in this era when the Supreme Court of India gave the infamous judgment in Additional Divisional Magistrate (ADM) of Jabalpur vs. Shivkant Shukla case (Habeas Corpus) that during an emergency, the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India to its citizens, including the right to life and personal liberty, shall stand extinguished. This same horror is being repeated with a vengeance now by the government of the day and tragically being endorsed by the Apex Court, the Supreme Court of India.
This is what has happened in the case of Zakia Jafri v/s the State of Gujarat, wherein after dismissing her appeal, the Supreme Court has made totally unwarranted observations against those who worked the case to seek justice. The court went on to assail them for their "audacity" to "question the integrity of every functionary" and their motives were tarred as "ulterior design". The court observed that "all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law."
Within hours of this Emergency-type judgment of the Supreme Court, the Gujarat Police swung into action in Emergency-type ruthlessness. They forcibly entered the house of human rights activist and lawyer, Teesta Setalvad, in Mumbai, assaulted her, and took her into custody on Jun. 25, 2022 (Emergency anniversary day). The action is so cruel that Teesta has, in a written complaint stated, "I fear seriously for my life." 
The First Information Report (FIR) under which she has been detained accuses the former Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of Gujarat, R. B. Sreekumar, and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Sanjiv Bhatt (already in jail in a concocted case), and activist Teesta Setalvad of conspiring to fabricate evidence, tutor witnesses and abuse the process of law. Soon after, Mr Sreekumar was arrested from his Ahmadabad, Gujarat residence.
Mohammed Zubair
The FIR casts its net very wide and makes the case that the time period of the offense ranged from Jan. 1, 2002 to Jun. 25, 2022. In effect every effort for justice for the victims of 2002, be it petitions filed in the High Court, Supreme Court, or the Magistrates’ Court is sought to be criminalized. The process, which should have made the state accountable in establishing guilt of those accused of serious crimes, is tarred with a criminal brush by criminalizing the quest for justice by the victims of the Gujarat pogroms. It also seeks to deter citizens from holding the state accountable for enabling violence in future, and in effect conveys that the state can do no wrong.
Immediately after these 2 arrests, the government also arrested a prominent journalist, Mohammed Zubair, the co- founder of the fact checking website AltNews.In. This too is reminiscent of the crackdown on journalists during the Emergency.
What the present government is doing is “Governance by Fear” in its rawest form. On the anniversary of the Emergency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have the habit of issuing statements condemning the Emergency as a dark chapter in the history of independent India, one imposed to quell dissent and free voice. But both of them are doing much worse now, and the Setalvad case is a typical example.
We, the undersigned, condemn such acts of duplicity, hypocrisy and brazen injustice. We demand that this false and vindictive FIR be cancelled and Teesta Setalvad and others detained under it be released immediately.
---
Click here for signatories

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Palm oil industry 'deceptively using' geenwashing to market products

By Athena*  Corporate hypocrisy is a masterclass in manipulation that mostly remains undetected by consumers and citizens. Companies often boast about their environmental and social responsibilities. Yet their actions betray these promises, creating a chasm between their public image and the grim on-the-ground reality. This duplicity and severely erodes public trust and undermines the strong foundations of our society.

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9. 

'Fake encounter': 12 Adivasis killed being dubbed Maoists, says FACAM

Counterview Desk   The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), even as condemn what it has called "fake encounter" of 12 Adivasi villagers in Gangaloor, has taken strong exception to they being presented by the authorities as Maoists.