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Citizens for Justice and Peace

25oct12

08, May 2017


October 25, 2012
Press
Release


CJP
Rebuts Malicious Campaign by
The Pioneer

The
Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP),
a Mumbai based registered
trust strongly rebuts the malicious campaign once again launched by
the Pioneer a newspaper edited by Rajya Sabha Member of
Parliament of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Chandan Mitra. In a
story laced with outright falsehoods the newspaper has alleged that
the CJP has violated the law, namely the Foreign Contribution
Regulation Act (FCRA).

Since
we work in the public domain we place the following facts for your
information while emphasising that what the Pioneer  has been
resorting to since 2010 constitutes unprofessional journalism: not
once were we contacted before this or other stories was carried. In
October 2010 we had through our lawyers issued a legal notice to the
newspaper (pasted below) following a spate of articles which visibly
toned down that newspaperÂ’s coverage after the notice. This time too
legal action will follow.

The
CJP has not violated any law or rule and has collected donations for
its primarily legal rights work from national and international
sources through lawful means. The Pioneer deliberately picks
out CJPÂ’s Secretary Teesta Setalvad for its remarks on violations
when it is not her but a Board of Trustees that have been
functioning collectively and supporting this work. Teesta is
deliberately being projected as recipient with malicious intent.

CJP provides legitimate legal aid to
help victims of mass crimes to access justice, a Constitutional
mandate supported by international human rights standards. Bringing
perpetrators of violence to justice – is being deliberately dubbed
as mala fide activity.

“Seeking donations in the name of helping riot victims” is a vague
generalization. Different donors made contributions for specific
purposes and not something as vague as “helping riot victims”.  The
donations received by CJP were for two very specific objectives:

(1)
Legal Aid to victims of the mass crimes: We emphatically state that
the foreign contributions received by CJP for legal aid were
accordingly earmarked and used for that very purpose.

(2)
Aid for Two Ambulances for Mumbai City: In the wake of the 26/11
terror attack on Mumbai, a need was felt for a citizensÂ’ initiative
to augment the existing ambulance service in Mumbai. This was in
view of the fact that very many people who received bullet injuries
at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus simply bled to death
because they were not enough ambulances to rush the injured to
hospitals. We again emphatically state that the foreign
contributions received by CJP for legal aid were accordingly
earmarked and used for that very purpose. Two ambulances purchased
with such contributions have been in service in Mumbai since 2009.
Donations from international music personalities and groups
including Jethro Tull through his manager Ian Anderson, Naomi
Campbell, Chatwals (through the IMG Lakme group) were received to
run these two ambulances that even today run in Mumbai.

(3)
The foreign contribution received from Ford Foundation was for
“Peace building activities in Gujarat & Maharashtra”. We affirm that
the money was earmarked and utilized accordingly.  It was a grant
received for a period of 3 years, received in three annual
instalments after submission and approval by Ford Foundation of
annual narrative and financial reports.Teesta Setalvad and Javed
Anand are only two of the  6 trustees of Sabrang Trust.

Since
2010, the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFT)
has been supporting our legal work and the amount received from them
has been utilized for legal aid alone as per the itemized budget
approved by UNVFVT (United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of
Torture). It is a matter of great pride for CJP that its legal
efforts to bring justice to the victims of the communal carnage in
Gujarat is supported by UN agency and administered by the United
Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva.

The
CJP would like to emphasise that the accounts of both CJP and
Sabrang Trust are audited annually within the stipulated time every
financial year and the audited accounts along with the auditorÂ’s
report are submitted regularly in the prescribed format to the
Income Tax Department, the Charity CommissionerÂ’s Office and the
FCRA department of the Union ministry of Home Affairs.

The
CJP with its committed Board of Trustees consisting of IM Kadri
(President), Nandan Maluste (Vice President), Arvind Krishnaswamy
(Treasurer), Teesta Setalvad (Secretary), Cyrus Guzder (Trustee),
Alyque Padamsee (Trustee), Anil Dharker (Trustee), Javed Akhtar
(Trustee), Taizoon Khorakiwala (Trustee), Rahul Bose (Trustee),
Javed Anand (Trustee), Gulam Pesh Imam (Trustee), Cedric Prakash
(Trustee) stands by the work it has undertaken to ensure
implementation of the rule of law through providing legal assistance
to victims and witnesses of mass crimes.

Both
the CJP and Sabrang Trusts are two separate entities. All expenses
of both trusts are incurred after sanction is received from the
Trustees.

From
September 2010 right until when our lawyer Ms Aparna Bhat served a
legal notice on The Pioneer  on October 23 2010, this
newspaper has first indulged in pathetic, one-sided
slander-mongering against Secretary of Citizens for Justice and
Peace (Copy of Legal Notice pasted below) even going to the
journalistically unprofessional levels of publishing Teesta
SetalvadÂ’s colour photograph on the editorial page, simply based on
one-sided and vicious statements of a former employee who had been
discontinued due to unprofessional activities on 18.1.2008. After
the legal notice, some semblance at objectivity was pursued by the
newspaper.

Now
again on 25.10.2012, a series of falsehoods have been published by
The Pioneer, with a deliberate and malicious intent. The CJP
would like to state that The Pioneer is functioning like the
cheap propaganda wing of the party in power in Gujarat and not a
newspaper. The fact remains that CJPÂ’s consistent legal aid to
victims and witnesses has been one of the factors –along with the
Supreme CourtÂ’s monitoring and witness protection — enabling them
to depose in Courts against powerful accused. It is these vested
interests supported by the powerful in the state which are, in a
concerted fashion, launching this current malicious and
ill-intentioned attack on CJP.

We
would also like to point out that previously vicious allegations of
“tutoring” by CJP have been unequivocally turned down and rejected
by the trial courts in Gujarat (Sardarpura and Naroda Patiya
cases-2011,2012), Best Bakery case (2006.2012) and SC Registrar
GeneralÂ’s Report (2005). Despite this spokespersons and lawyers of
the ruling party in Gujarat continue to spout falsehoods on
television in the media. The Pioneer in general and through
its article published today, is part of this pattern.

The
persistent falsehoods against our organization despite this
vindication in courts of law is a tactic and part of the vicious
rumour-mongering that the political party responsible for the
violence in the state of Gujarat and its parent organizations are
well-known for. The motivations behind earlier campaigns by the
Pioneer
, edited by a man who is member of Parliament from the
party that is in power in Gujarat, and other spokespersons are not
simply to malign CJP—the real motive is to intimidate witnesses and
even attempt to obstruct the course of public justice.

 I.M.
Kadri                                         Nandan
Maluste                                Teesta Setalvad
(President)                                      (Vice
President)                                 (Secretary)
 


Other Trustees:

Arvind Krishnaswamy                     Javed Akhtar            
Cyrus Guzder                             
Alyque Padamsee
                           Anil Dharker
             Javed Anand              
Rahul Bose                                      
Cedric Prakash         Ghulam
Pesh Imam  
Taizoon Khorakiwala

——————————————————————————-

Legal Notice Sent on 23.10.2010

23.10.
2010

Editor,
Pioneer
Chandan Mitra 

Dear
Sir,

 

I am
retained by and act under instructions from the Citizens for Justice
and Peace who has advised me that your newspaper Pioneer has been
carrying a series of slanderous articles against them particularly
targeting their Secretary, Ms.Teesta Setalvad.

My
clients advise me that since the past two months especially, but
even earlier, months on    6.9.2009,  7.9.2009,
8.9.2009. 10.9.2010, 12.9.2010, 22.09.2010, 18.10.2010 and
19.10.2010, 20.10.2010 and 22.10.2010 Days you have made allegations
against the Secretary stating that she has influenced witnesses,
altered their versions of their statements and is trying to mislead
the course of justice. My clients advise me that these
allegations are an utter distortion of the truth and slanderous,
made with a political motive to protect those accused of heinous
crimes in 2002. They advise me that since you belong to the same
political party that is currently the ruling dispensation in Gujarat
and which is being criminally investigated for conspiracy into mass
murder etc. you have a vested interest in these slanderous and
defamatory reports.

My
clients further advise me that you are making these baseless
allegations on the basis of alleged disclosure made to you by a
former employee of my client without verifying the same from my
client and not verifying the facts.  In your newspaper, you are
also carrying the same allegations either attributed to this former
employee, or some of the accused in the ongoing trials or the State
of Gujarat itself.

My
clients further advise me that the articles are being published at a
time when the trials are in progress and eye witnesses are deposing,
and moreover that a criminal investigation into the political
dispensation in Gujarat is underway
and is aimed at, if not
likely to affect the course of justice and is a clear case of
interference with the administration of justice.

In the
circumstances you are hereby called upon to desist from carrying out
these articles, which are clearly slanderous and defamatory in
nature immediately failing which my clients would be forced to take
appropriate legal action both criminal and civil as they may be
advised.

I am
sure that you would comply with the requisition contained herein and
thus obviate the necessity of having to initiate any action against
you.

 

Sincerely,

Aparna Bhat


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