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Teesta Setalvad's arrest shows how our rights are being trampled upon: Rights groups

Nearly a fortnight after her arrest, support for the 60-year-old grows stronger

Sabrangindia 06 Jul 2022

Free Teesta

The fact that journalist, activist and educationist Teesta Setalvad is even today a shining beacon of hope and a source of inspiration for many ordinary Indians is evident in how the demands for her release are growing with each passing day.

The latest solidarity statement was made in Raichur on July 4, 2022 when the Karnataka Janashakti held its third state conference. According to The Hindu, various social movements representatives gathered on the first day of the event. Setalvad was supposed to inaugurate the event, prior to her sudden arrest by Gujarat ATS. Days after her arrest, former Gujarat State DGP R B Sreekumar was also arrested. To condemn this absence, attendees waved black flags and raised slogans protesting her arrest.

Progressive writer Rahamat Tarikere delivered the inaugural address in her stead, expressing concern over the increasing arrests of activists and writers for criticising the government. He talked about how people are put behind bars not for doing crimes but opposing crimes.

“Writers, journalists, activists, and artists such as stand-up comedians who opposed the State for its anti-people and peace-disturbing governance are subjected to suppression. Threat, assault and jail, and even murder, have become the order of the day. We are in such a pathetic and dangerous situation where journalists who were supposed to condemn the atrocities on their fellow professionals are celebrating the attacks,” Mr. Tarikere told The Hindu.

The speech came a day after solidarity protests in Kolkata and Chennai. The Association for Protection fo Democratic Rights (APDR) members flooded the streets of West Bengal’s capital. Thousands gathered on June 3 to condemn the targeted attack on Setalvad, Sreekumar and other whistle-blower Sanjiv Bhatt.

Free Teesta

Free Teesta

Free Teesta

Similarly, the All India Lawyers Union (AILU) held yet another demonstration in support of Setalvad, this time in Kolkata. Members decried the highhandedness of the regime and demanded the immediate release of the journalist and other human rights defenders.

Free Teesta

On June 2, the Chennai Chapter of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) organised a gathering to condemn the arrest of Alt News co-founder Zubair Ahmed, Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt. The event was organised by advocate V. Suresh and Jayaram Venkatesan. People sang songs of solidarity in support of the activist and others.

Simultaneously, the PUCL ran another protest in Coimbatore with an all-party delegation in front of the Coimbatore South Taluk office. According to The Hindu, protesters called it a "bad precedent" to victimise Setalvad and Sreekumar and compared the current status quo to an "undeclared emergency".

Meanwhile, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also voiced deep concern about India’s free speech and religious freedom conditions. Commissioner David Curry said, “USCIRF is concerned about the Indian government’s continued repression of critical voices— especially religious minorities and those reporting on and advocating for them.”

This tweet was accompanied by an article that covered Setalvad’s ordeal. In the same Twitter thread, Commissioner Stephen Schneck said, “Human rights advocates, journalists, activists, and faith leaders in India face harassment for speaking out and reporting religious freedom conditions. This is not reflective of a country with a history of democracy.”

This was coupled with an article on Alt News Co-Founder Mohammed Zubair’s arrest.

 

The USCIRF recommended that India be designated as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for its systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including the repression of critical voices speaking out against these violations.

According to The Hindu, the Government of India took umbrage to this statement. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson responded to the tweets by saying, “USCIRF continues to misrepresent facts time and again in its statements and reports in pursuance of its motivated agenda. Such actions only serve to strengthen concerns about the credibility and objectivity of the organization.” It accused the U.S. State department of vote bank politics, “biased and inaccurate” comments that showed a lack of understanding of India’s constitutional framework, plurality and democratic ethos.

Meanwhile, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury too condemned the “travesty” of the Supreme Court vacation bench order that led to Setalvad's arrest and 14 day custody.

“This is sheer vendetta. A larger SC bench must review this Order,” he said.

The social media handle of the Indian National Congress shared a video describing Setalvad’s plight in recent years.

Aside from these, many opinion pieces in support of Setalvad and her work have been written in the Times of India, The Tribune, Deccan Herald, The Wire, Sarvoday Jagat, The Hindu and many other publications.

Related:

Mapping solidarity: 26 protests so far demanding Teesta Setalvad’s release
Gujarat court remands Teesta Setalvad to judicial custody
A week in the life of human rights defender Teesta Setalvad
Farmers demand answers: What happened to written promises?

Teesta Setalvad's arrest shows how our rights are being trampled upon: Rights groups

Nearly a fortnight after her arrest, support for the 60-year-old grows stronger

Free Teesta

The fact that journalist, activist and educationist Teesta Setalvad is even today a shining beacon of hope and a source of inspiration for many ordinary Indians is evident in how the demands for her release are growing with each passing day.

The latest solidarity statement was made in Raichur on July 4, 2022 when the Karnataka Janashakti held its third state conference. According to The Hindu, various social movements representatives gathered on the first day of the event. Setalvad was supposed to inaugurate the event, prior to her sudden arrest by Gujarat ATS. Days after her arrest, former Gujarat State DGP R B Sreekumar was also arrested. To condemn this absence, attendees waved black flags and raised slogans protesting her arrest.

Progressive writer Rahamat Tarikere delivered the inaugural address in her stead, expressing concern over the increasing arrests of activists and writers for criticising the government. He talked about how people are put behind bars not for doing crimes but opposing crimes.

“Writers, journalists, activists, and artists such as stand-up comedians who opposed the State for its anti-people and peace-disturbing governance are subjected to suppression. Threat, assault and jail, and even murder, have become the order of the day. We are in such a pathetic and dangerous situation where journalists who were supposed to condemn the atrocities on their fellow professionals are celebrating the attacks,” Mr. Tarikere told The Hindu.

The speech came a day after solidarity protests in Kolkata and Chennai. The Association for Protection fo Democratic Rights (APDR) members flooded the streets of West Bengal’s capital. Thousands gathered on June 3 to condemn the targeted attack on Setalvad, Sreekumar and other whistle-blower Sanjiv Bhatt.

Free Teesta

Free Teesta

Free Teesta

Similarly, the All India Lawyers Union (AILU) held yet another demonstration in support of Setalvad, this time in Kolkata. Members decried the highhandedness of the regime and demanded the immediate release of the journalist and other human rights defenders.

Free Teesta

On June 2, the Chennai Chapter of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) organised a gathering to condemn the arrest of Alt News co-founder Zubair Ahmed, Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt. The event was organised by advocate V. Suresh and Jayaram Venkatesan. People sang songs of solidarity in support of the activist and others.

Simultaneously, the PUCL ran another protest in Coimbatore with an all-party delegation in front of the Coimbatore South Taluk office. According to The Hindu, protesters called it a "bad precedent" to victimise Setalvad and Sreekumar and compared the current status quo to an "undeclared emergency".

Meanwhile, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also voiced deep concern about India’s free speech and religious freedom conditions. Commissioner David Curry said, “USCIRF is concerned about the Indian government’s continued repression of critical voices— especially religious minorities and those reporting on and advocating for them.”

This tweet was accompanied by an article that covered Setalvad’s ordeal. In the same Twitter thread, Commissioner Stephen Schneck said, “Human rights advocates, journalists, activists, and faith leaders in India face harassment for speaking out and reporting religious freedom conditions. This is not reflective of a country with a history of democracy.”

This was coupled with an article on Alt News Co-Founder Mohammed Zubair’s arrest.

 

The USCIRF recommended that India be designated as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for its systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including the repression of critical voices speaking out against these violations.

According to The Hindu, the Government of India took umbrage to this statement. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson responded to the tweets by saying, “USCIRF continues to misrepresent facts time and again in its statements and reports in pursuance of its motivated agenda. Such actions only serve to strengthen concerns about the credibility and objectivity of the organization.” It accused the U.S. State department of vote bank politics, “biased and inaccurate” comments that showed a lack of understanding of India’s constitutional framework, plurality and democratic ethos.

Meanwhile, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury too condemned the “travesty” of the Supreme Court vacation bench order that led to Setalvad's arrest and 14 day custody.

“This is sheer vendetta. A larger SC bench must review this Order,” he said.

The social media handle of the Indian National Congress shared a video describing Setalvad’s plight in recent years.

Aside from these, many opinion pieces in support of Setalvad and her work have been written in the Times of India, The Tribune, Deccan Herald, The Wire, Sarvoday Jagat, The Hindu and many other publications.

Related:

Mapping solidarity: 26 protests so far demanding Teesta Setalvad’s release
Gujarat court remands Teesta Setalvad to judicial custody
A week in the life of human rights defender Teesta Setalvad
Farmers demand answers: What happened to written promises?

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