Teesta Setalvad is NOT making any movie titled “The Gujarat Files”: CJP to YouTube news channels

Two YouTube news channels had aired baseless, inflammatory and defamatory rumours about the Human rights defender’s involvement with a movie based on the 2002 Gujarat violence

Gujarat Files

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has written to two YouTube based news channels to immediately take down their “news report” videos where they have claimed that CJP secretary, journalist and Human Rights defender Teesta Setalvad is involved in the making of an upcoming movie titled The Gujarat Files.

The channels Desh Live and The Live TV aired stories claiming that Teesta Setalvad had held a secret meeting in her home with actor Naseeruddin Shah, director Rahul Dholakia, activist Harsh Mander and many others to start work on The Gujarat Files. They further claimed that the script was ready and that Shah would play the role of Narendra Modi!

It is noteworthy that conversations about a movie titled “The Gujarat Files” began on social media after the release of Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files. But Teesta Setalvad had neither proposed, nor endorsed the idea. Yet, she was dragged into this fresh controversy based on rumour, speculation and vivid imagination.

First Sahal Qureshi of Desh Live “broke” the story on his channel and then this was picked up by The Live TV, whose anchor Jayanti Jha named Desh Live as her source and dramatically claimed that this movie would give the prime minister sleepless nights!

But neither channel provided any evidence except images from Memories of Struggle that an evening of conversations and music organized by CJP in February 2022 to commemorate 20 years of the Gujarat carnage of 2002. They used pictures of Naseeruddin Shah and Rahul Dholakia with families of victims and survivors of the Gujarat carnage – such as Tanveer Jafri whose father Ahesan Jafri was killed in the Gulberg society massacre and RupabehnMody whose son Azhar went missing at the same time – who were present at this event. The channels claimed that this was a secret meeting held at Setalvad’s home, despite the fact that the entire event wasbroadcast live on YouTube for anyone to watch!

CJP has now written to both channels as well as YouTube urging them to take down the fake, defamatory and potentially inflammatory content uploaded on their platform.

The complaints say, “We wish to point out that this video carries fake news, attempts to attribute baseless motives to Teesta Setalvad and also unnecessarily pits a peace-loving senior artiste Naseeruddin Shah against the Prime Minister of India, apart from dragging director Rahul Dholakia, activist Harsh Mander and even the family of slain Congress Member of Parliament Ahesan Jafri into the controversy.”

The complaint also points out, “The timing of this video is especially noteworthy given how Ahesan Jafri’s widow Zakia Jafri had moved a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court asking for an inquiry into the wider conspiracy behind the Gujarat violence of 2002. CJP, through Teesta Setalvad, was the second petitioner in the case.”

CJP concludes the complains saying, “We would therefore urge you to please take down the video as it spreads malicious rumours about Teesta Setalvad and the aforementioned people. These rumours have the potential to spark hatred and suspicion against peace-loving citizens and cause harm to their reputations, and therefore the videos are not only inflammatory but also defamatory.”

The three complaints may be read here:


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