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Freedom India

Free Teesta Setalvad: Now Bhubaneswar stands with Teesta

Protesters demand the immediate release of the arrested while dismissing all allegations

Sabrangindia 01 Jul 2022

Human Right Activist

In solidarity with human rights activist and journalist Teesta Setalvad and others, Odisha’s citizens gathered in the capital city of Bhubaneswar on June 30, 2022 to condemn the “naked attack” on dissent.

Students, youth, women, intellectuals, journalists, political activists and lawmakers joined the protest on Thursday, called by various democratic and human rights organisations. Led by senior journalist Ravi Das, Prof. Birendra Nayak, eminent environmentalist Prafulla Samantara amongst others, the civic protest decried the BJP-led central government’s attack on dissent and democratic rights.

Human Right Activist

People demanded release of the 60-year-old activist as well as 2002 Gujarat riots whistle-blowers RB Sreekumar, Sanjiv Bhatt. The former two were arrested a day after the Supreme Court dismissed the Zakia Jafri case. Similarly, AltNews Co-Founder Mohammad Zubair was arrested shortly after Setalvad and Sreekumar’s arrest for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.

Condemning these series of events, protesters said that the apex court has created a sick tradition of sending social and human rights activists to jail rather than giving justice to victims. Members said the court had penalised dissenters for assisting victims in the legal battle. Even Opposition political parties called for a boycott of the assembly, citing “ridicule of the constitution and the use of force against the judiciary”.

Others at the protest were Equality Council member Abhiram Mallick, journalist Sudhir Patnaik, Professor Vijay Bahidar, human rights lawyer Vishwapriya Kanungo, columnist Amiya Pandav, Revolutionary Women's Organization’s Pramila Behera, All India Students’ Union State leader Sanghamitra Jena, Democratic Rights Protection Organization’s Debranjan, All India People's Forum’s Banshidhar Parida, National Hawkers' Federation’s Jayant Das, social activists Sasmita Jena, Srimanta Mohanty, Sandeep Patnaik, researcher Nigmananda Sarangi, social activists Kalyan Anand, Bishwanath Patra, Manas Patnaik, Samajwadi Party's Sudarshan Pradhan, Eju Aamir Khan, etc.

This includes anti-Jindal Spokesperson Prashant Paikray who asked, “If Setalvad is arrested for fighting for the victims then what about us activists who speak for local villagers? We all are anti-nationals and they alone [the ruling regime] are nationalists?”

For years now, the anti-Jindal movement (formerly the anti-POSCO movement) has been fighting for Jagatsinghpur’s local adivasi groups in Dhinkia village. Residents have long since demanded that the government stop handing the nearby forest land for developing projects without the permission of gram sabhas as per the Forest Rights Act 2006.

Setalvad and Sreekumar face charges of criminal conspiracy and forgery. Worse still, the FIR went as far as to make the case that the time period of the offense ranged from January 1, 2002 to June 25, 2022. This effectively includes every effort for justice for the 2002 victims, be it petitions filed in the High Court, Supreme Court or the Magistrates’ Court – all of which are sought to be criminalized.

Supporters of the activist decried the FIR that prevents Setalvad from making the state accountable in establishing guilt of those accused of serious crimes and calling for victims’ justice. It also deters citizens from holding the State accountable, in effect conveying that the State can do no wrong.

Related:

End governance of fear: Collectives in support of Teesta Setalvad
Release Teesta Setalvad: Adivasi women demand justice for their sister activist
Drop charges against Teesta Setalvad: Human Rights Watch
Nation unites to demand Teesta Setalvad’s release
Human Rights organisations issue statements of support for Teesta Setalvad
First Teesta Setalvad, now Mohammed Zubair!
After activists, is GoI now targeting farmers?

Free Teesta Setalvad: Now Bhubaneswar stands with Teesta

Protesters demand the immediate release of the arrested while dismissing all allegations

Human Right Activist

In solidarity with human rights activist and journalist Teesta Setalvad and others, Odisha’s citizens gathered in the capital city of Bhubaneswar on June 30, 2022 to condemn the “naked attack” on dissent.

Students, youth, women, intellectuals, journalists, political activists and lawmakers joined the protest on Thursday, called by various democratic and human rights organisations. Led by senior journalist Ravi Das, Prof. Birendra Nayak, eminent environmentalist Prafulla Samantara amongst others, the civic protest decried the BJP-led central government’s attack on dissent and democratic rights.

Human Right Activist

People demanded release of the 60-year-old activist as well as 2002 Gujarat riots whistle-blowers RB Sreekumar, Sanjiv Bhatt. The former two were arrested a day after the Supreme Court dismissed the Zakia Jafri case. Similarly, AltNews Co-Founder Mohammad Zubair was arrested shortly after Setalvad and Sreekumar’s arrest for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.

Condemning these series of events, protesters said that the apex court has created a sick tradition of sending social and human rights activists to jail rather than giving justice to victims. Members said the court had penalised dissenters for assisting victims in the legal battle. Even Opposition political parties called for a boycott of the assembly, citing “ridicule of the constitution and the use of force against the judiciary”.

Others at the protest were Equality Council member Abhiram Mallick, journalist Sudhir Patnaik, Professor Vijay Bahidar, human rights lawyer Vishwapriya Kanungo, columnist Amiya Pandav, Revolutionary Women's Organization’s Pramila Behera, All India Students’ Union State leader Sanghamitra Jena, Democratic Rights Protection Organization’s Debranjan, All India People's Forum’s Banshidhar Parida, National Hawkers' Federation’s Jayant Das, social activists Sasmita Jena, Srimanta Mohanty, Sandeep Patnaik, researcher Nigmananda Sarangi, social activists Kalyan Anand, Bishwanath Patra, Manas Patnaik, Samajwadi Party's Sudarshan Pradhan, Eju Aamir Khan, etc.

This includes anti-Jindal Spokesperson Prashant Paikray who asked, “If Setalvad is arrested for fighting for the victims then what about us activists who speak for local villagers? We all are anti-nationals and they alone [the ruling regime] are nationalists?”

For years now, the anti-Jindal movement (formerly the anti-POSCO movement) has been fighting for Jagatsinghpur’s local adivasi groups in Dhinkia village. Residents have long since demanded that the government stop handing the nearby forest land for developing projects without the permission of gram sabhas as per the Forest Rights Act 2006.

Setalvad and Sreekumar face charges of criminal conspiracy and forgery. Worse still, the FIR went as far as to make the case that the time period of the offense ranged from January 1, 2002 to June 25, 2022. This effectively includes every effort for justice for the 2002 victims, be it petitions filed in the High Court, Supreme Court or the Magistrates’ Court – all of which are sought to be criminalized.

Supporters of the activist decried the FIR that prevents Setalvad from making the state accountable in establishing guilt of those accused of serious crimes and calling for victims’ justice. It also deters citizens from holding the State accountable, in effect conveying that the State can do no wrong.

Related:

End governance of fear: Collectives in support of Teesta Setalvad
Release Teesta Setalvad: Adivasi women demand justice for their sister activist
Drop charges against Teesta Setalvad: Human Rights Watch
Nation unites to demand Teesta Setalvad’s release
Human Rights organisations issue statements of support for Teesta Setalvad
First Teesta Setalvad, now Mohammed Zubair!
After activists, is GoI now targeting farmers?

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Teesta Setalvad | A powerful voice for India’s human rights movement

For the last thirty years, Teesta Setalvad has been one of India’s most important voices for human rights, freedom and justice for all.

As she comes under attack from a vindictive state as well as fake news peddling troll armies, let us look at some of her recent interventions and accolades.

 

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For the last thirty years, Teesta Setalvad has been one of India’s most important voices for human rights, freedom and justice for all.

As she comes under attack from a vindictive state as well as fake news peddling troll armies, let us look at some of her recent interventions and accolades.

 

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In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
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