Statement of Solidarity with Human Rights Defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, India

teesta19 February 2015 UPDATE: In today’s hearing, the Supreme Court of India decided against Teesta and Javed being arrested for interrogation. “This is a huge relief. Had they been arrested and sent to Gujarat, anything could have happened”, according to Marieme Helie Lucas. She adds: “Now the struggle will continue…”

Teesta Setalvad, the co-editor of Communalism Combat and India’s prominent crusader for justice for victims of the 2002 Gujarat massacre and her husband face trumped up charges for pursuing accountability of Hindu-Right organisations for the massacre.

Find out more about why Teesta is being targeted here. It is clearly because of her tireless work in securing justice for Muslims killed during the Gujrat 2002 communal violence . She has secured the conviction of over hundred perpetrators, and the case she is now working on, can see India’s prime minister Modhi brought to trial for his role in the violence. Thanks to all the friends who helped support Teesta and Javed. We need to keep a close watch and keep the pressure on to ensure that those involved in the massacre are held to account and that Teesta and Javed can continue their work without threats and intimidation.

We will continue to stand with Teesta and Javed. Unconditionally.

Find out more about the work Teesta has been doing here.

***

18 February 2015

Below is a statement that has been issued prior to a hearing on their case on 19 February 2015.

As international networks and organisations concerned with equality between all citizens before the law, standing for secularism as prevention of communalism, we are closely following and monitoring the case against human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand in India.

We note with great concern that this is not the first allegation made against them over the past few years, in the vain hope, it seems, to stop them from asking the right questions of the government after the 2002 Gujarat massacre, pursuing accountability of Hindu-right organizations and persons for communal violence and religious-ethnic cleansing, and standing for the victims and survivors. Teesta Setalvad has filed 68 court cases on behalf of victims.

Having closely followed their work for a long time, even prior to the 2002 massacres, we know their personal integrity and have no doubt that as previous false allegations made against them, the present allegation will also been discarded as fabricated in the court of law.

However, we note the swiftness with which the police came to arrest them, as soon as they saw a legal opportunity to do so. We are therefore concerned with their safety. Attempting to arrest them for interrogation – on accusations of misuse of funds(!) – simply amounts to harassment and intimidation of these rights defenders.

Moreover, their accounts have been frozen for more than 8 months, making their human rights work on behalf of the Gujarat victims and survivors more and more difficult to sustain, as well as their own legal defense. This seems like a deliberate attempt by the BJP government of Gujarat to silence these defenders.

We will be making sure that the case is being watched internationally. Several international networks have been alerted, and the relevant UN Special Rapporteurs are being approached to ensure their security as human rights defenders.

In solidarity
Signed:

Secularism Is a Women’s Issue-SIAWI
Women Living Under Muslim Laws-WLUML
One Law For All
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain-CEMB
Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran
Bread and Roses TV
Southall Black Sisters
Center for Secular Space
VP Atheist Coalition Poland
Europejska Feministyczna Inicjatywa
Association for Women’s Rights in development -AWID
Association for Progressive Communications

{Individuals}:

Marieme Helie Lucas, Algeria/France
Fatou Sow, Sénégal
Maryam Namazie,Iran/UK
Kate Smurthwaite, comedian and activist, UK
Pragna Patel, Director, Southall Black Sisters, UK
Chris Moos, Secularist activist and researcher, UK
Prof.Nira Yuval Davis, UK
Gita Sahgal, Director Center for Secular Space India/UK
Hameeda Hossain, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Nina Sankari, Poland
Codou Bop, Sénégal
Ariane Brunet, women’s rights activist, Quebec
Anissa Helie, Algeria/USA
Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Campaigner, UK
Sultana Kamal, Women’s Rights Defender, Bangladesh
Elham Manea, Yemeni Academic and Human Rights Activist
Prof.Charlotte Bunch USA

Protest against sexual violence in India

Join today’s protest organised by Southall Black Sisters against sexual violence in India
7th January 2013, 4-7pm
outside the Indian High Commission, London WC2B 4NA

Dear all,

We have all been shocked by the recent case of a young woman who was gang raped by a group of six men on a bus in Delhi. When she was taken to hospital, the doctor found ” that a rod was inserted into her and it was pulled out with so much force that the act brought out her intestines along. That is probably the only thing that explains such severe damage to her intestines.” She tragically died on 29th December 2012 in a hospital in Singapore.

Shocking as it is, this is only one of many acts of horrific sexual violence that take place every where and every day in India. The world’s largest democracy was named the worst country in the G20 countries for violence against women (after Saudi Arabia) in the recent Trust Law/Reuters Survey. This is the heart of darkness in ‘India shining’. By drawing world wide attention to this horror and solidarity for Indian women, we hope to shame the Indian government into acting now by making public spaces safe for women, starting with implementing the laws and bringing the perpetrators to justice. [Read more…]