Teesta Setalvad victim of witch-hunt, say activists

File photo of Teesta Setalvad. Activists are worried about Teesta Setalvad’s safety if she is arrested.  

Terming corruption charges against Teesta Setalvad baseless, civil society on Tuesday stood behind the social activist and her husband Javed Anand.

If BJP president Amit Shah, who faced grievous murder charges in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, could get the luxury of not having to appear before court, why were Ms. Setalvad and Mr. Anand being subjected to a “witch-hunt” over charges of financial corruption, activists in Mumbai asked.

After the Gujarat High Court rejected their anticipatory bail plea on charges of embezzlement of funds meant for the 2002 Gujarat riot victims, the Supreme Court stayed the arrest of Ms. Setalvad and Mr. Anand till February 19. “There is no doubt in my mind that the persecution is because of the work they have done in bringing the guilty to book. It is our duty to see that the witch-hunt doesn’t go on,” said noted documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan.

The activists, who included Tushar Gandhi, great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, cited a number of criminal cases pursued by Ms. Setalvad’s NGO in Gujarat, including the Naroda Patiya massacre during the 2002 riots. .

Pointing to a worrying trend for social activism under the Narendra Modi government, Mr. Gandhi said the state was sending the strong message that “if you stand up for rights, honesty or ethics, you will be persecuted.”

Mr. Gandhi also expressed concern over Ms. Setalvad’s safety if she were to go into custody. Pointing to the hate campaign against Ms. Setalvad on social media, Mr. Gandhi said he faced a barrage of obscene response after he tweeted in her support

“Will the government ensure their safety? From the people who are in jail due to the efforts of Teesta and Anand? As we can see in Gujarat, the accused have been rewarded. How does the state ensure that it doesn’t fall prey to such strong-arm tactics?”

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 9:12:04 AM |

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