CHENNAI: People’s Union of Civil Liberty, civil society organisations and senior advocates of Madras High Court on Monday strongly condemned the arrest of noted activist cum journalist Teesta Setalvad and others and demanded their immediate release. A protest will be held in the city on Saturday against the arrest of activists and others.
The Supreme Court in the case of Zakia Jafri vs the State of Gujarat, not only dismissed the idea that there was a conspiracy to commit murder, rape and destruction of property but instead went further and took to task those who sought to ensure justice for the communal hate crimes following the Godhra incident. The Court observed that "all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with the law."
“The State has now used the observations made in the judgement to falsely and vindictively prosecute those who had struggled for justice even in the face of state callousness and complicity. It is truly an Orwellian situation of the lie becoming the truth, when those who fought to establish the truth of what happened in the Gujarat genocide of 2002 are being targeted,,” Dr V Suresh, national general secretary, PUCL said addressing the media. Senior Madras High Court advocates, including NGR Prasad and R Vaigai and Arappor Iyakkam convenor Jayaram Venkatesan, also condemned the arrest.
A day after the order, he said that the Gujarat ATS swung into action and forcibly got into Teesta Setalvad's house, assaulted her, picked her up and took her into their custody.
The FIR under which she has been detained accuses the Gujarat retired police officials ADGP RB Sreekumar, DIG Sanjiv Bhatt and activist Teesta Setalvad of conspiring to fabricate evidence, tutor witnesses and abuse the process of law.
“The FIR casts its net very wide and makes the case that the time period of the offence ranged from January 1, 2002, to June 25, 2022. The ordinary process of criminal litigation to make the state accountable by establishing the guilt of those accused of serious crimes is tarred with the criminal brush, ” he said. Suresh condemned the naked and brazen attempt to silence and criminalise those who stand for constitutional values and who have struggled against very difficult odds to try to achieve justice for the victims of 2002. “We demand that this false and vindictive FIR be taken back unconditionally and Teesta Setalvad and others detained under the FIR be released immediately, ” he said.