PR31mach05


Press Release 


Plea to 
media: eschew  sensationalism

March 31,
2005

The
Citizens for Justice and Peace
[CJP] would like to express itÂ’s
concern at the sensational reports carried in some newspaper publications
yesterday. These concern vile and malafide allegations made against our
Secretary, Teesta Setalvad by Ms Zahira Shaikh. First and foremost, it
needs to be understood that a high level inquiry is afoot, being conducted
by the Registrar General of the Supreme Court of India. As part of this
process, both Ms Shaikh and us were expected to file affidavits. Our
affidavits filed by our President, Mr Tendulkar and our secretary, Ms
Setalvad were filed three weeks back on March 9, 2005. We thought that
normal procedure and decorum require that since they were subject to an
inquiry they should not be publicised. Ms Shaikh has chosen another route
and in her recent affidavit has chosen to once again attempt to vilify Ms
SetalvadÂ’s personal character when in fact both she and the forces behind
her wish to derail the justice process for all Gujarat victims. 

The media at
this juncture needs to play a role befitting itÂ’s status and prestige.  We
urge the media that has done much to keep the issue of the Gujarat carnage
alive to rise above narrow sensationalism and look at the more serious
issues involved here. The issues raised by us in our affidavit are
substantive and open for perusal. The fact that Ms Shaikh decides to
question a body like the National Human Rights Commission [NHRC] speaks
for itself. Added to this is the fact that substantive issues of fact
raised by the CJP in itÂ’s affidavit, including the fact that Ms Shaikh had
over 12 months living independently in Mumbai (with her mother and
brothers) to hurl allegations but chose to wait until the trial had begun
and independent witnesses had deposed and identified the accused to do so,
is in itself very suspicious.  

It needs to
be recalled that it was when Ms Shaikh was asked to file details of her
and her familyÂ’s bank accounts in February 2005 by the Supreme Court that
she lashed out asking an inquiry into not the CJPÂ’s but Ms SetalvadÂ’s
accounts. Ms Setalvad has acted as Secretary of the CJP in full compliance
with the wishes of the Board of Trustees. She is not in this case
functioning as an individual. She represents the entire Board. This fact
is being deliberately hidden from public view. 

It may also
be in order to recall the role played by the CJP as an organisation and
through itÂ’s Secretary in bringing issues of justice to victims of the
Gujarat carnage. For those interested, information is available on the
several and sustained legal initiatives undertaken by us. The recent vile
allegations are part of a wider design to obscure this contribution from
public view and deter anyone else from coming to the legal aid of victims
of communal crimes. To reduce the entire dangerous and sordid effort to
narrow character assassination and mudslinging does not befit the fourth
estate that needs to be concerned with issues and processes within a
democracy and the subversive efforts to de-rail them.



 

Vijay
Tendulkar,

President
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, CJP 


 

 


 

Leave a Reply