In Defence of HR Defender Setalvad and the Course of Public Justice (Gujarat 2002)

 

October 20, 2010


In Defence of HR
Defender Setalvad and the Course of Public Justice (Gujarat 2002)

The
Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) especially its secretary
Teesta Setalvad has been made the focus of a malicious and
motivated campaign spearheaded by a newspaper run by BJP
parliamentarian Chandan Mitra. While legal rebuttals and legal
notices are being pursued it is critical that the issue is also
countered in the public domain coming at a critical time in our
struggle for justice, when criminal investigations against the
chief minister, cabinet colleagues and administrative and police
top brass ordered by the Supreme Court of India are at a decisive
stage. Smt Zakia Ahsan Jafri the victim survivor and
co-complainant has also been targeted by Praveen Togadia of the
VHP as also the Trial Court Judge hearing the Trial.

The
timing of all these allegations is significant. While the Supreme
Court is deliberating on allegations of mass murder and criminal
conspiracy. The allegations are same, the people making them are
different. First a star witness (Zahira) won over by a BJP MLA (Madhu
Srivastava (2004), then state of Gujarat and now accused who have
been fielded for elections despite being chargesheeted for mass
murder and a former employee Rais Khan who has been won over . In
2004 he was accused of kidnapping and digging up graves.

In
between a senior supreme court lawyer, another BJP MP who secured
his ticket recently after switing sides from appearing for the
victims to appearing for the accused! Two accused and the State of
Gujarat too have made the same allegations. (please see
rejoinder affidavit filed by Teesta Setalvad/CJP in April 2010 )

These tactics are simply to  frighten victims and intimidate us
from the course of justice.

While we remain
committed to our struggle what is crucial is that all citizens, in
India and the world committed to justice and fair play join issue on
this point. A false campaign of “perjury” is being made against us.
What is in question are critical affidavits filed in the Supreme
Court of India by victim survivors through the CJP pointing out the
faulty investigation, revealing the names of wrongly arraigned
accused by the Gujarat police and in fact, poiting out that high
level state collusion had prevented politically powerful accused
from being named in FIRs and chargesheets filed by the Gujarat
police. (please see attachment–rebuttal by CJP and letter to the
SIT, dated Oct 7 2010)

The cruel incident of KauserBano, who’s womb ws slit open and a her
foetus swirle don a sword is not just being “obliterated” from the
narrative; the India Today and Pioneer are making out that this
narrative was a concoction of Setalvad’s vivid imagination. Never
mind the fact that victims have deposed about this incident, named
accused allegedly responsible for it and mnost importantly never
mind the fact that several newspapers had reported this incident in
2002. (please see attachment Media. Rights Groups and Mass
Crimes)

Behind this motivated attack is also an attempt to blot out the
narrative of gendered sexual violence that was central to the crimes
committed in Gujarat in 2002. Ironically while several women
witnesses have deposed to this narrative in the ongoing trials in
Gujarat, the State and accused and othert collaborators continue to
wish to blot it away. CJP has recently released a Shadow Report to
the CEDAW 47th Session in Geneva that was reviewing India’s
commitment to public justice and reparation.

At this session on October 15 2010, the words of Ms Patten CEDAW
Expert aptly sums up the situation.

“I would like to end by saying that the nightmarish atmosphere of
terror and violence perpetrated in the state of Gujarat —more than
acts of violence, the language of hate and the rhetoric of enmity
have left terrible scars on the secular psyche of India and your
history of tolerance and respoect for diversity.
I would urge you to ensure that those responsible be severely
punished to avoid a similar carnage being reproduced.”

Pramila PATTEN LLM
CEDAW EXPERT

Geneva, October 15 2010
47th Meeting CEDAW Session at Geneva
(CEDAW—Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against
Women)

Cyrus Guzder, Trustee
Nandan Maluste, Vice President
Arvind Krishnaswamy, Treasurer               Teesta Setalvad,
Secretary

Other Trustees:

Alyque Padamsee, Javed Akhtar, Javed Anand, Rahul Bose, Cedric
Prakash, Ghulam Pesh Imam, Anil Dharker

 

 


 

 


 

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