13, Dec 2017 | CJP Team
Following an intervention petition in the Ayodhya dispute case in the Supreme Court by CJP and 32 prominent civil society voices, CJP Secretary Teesta Setalvad has come under fire by so called ‘nationalist’ television news channels. While Sudarshan News has alleged that Teesta Setalvad is a ‘venom spewing Hindu hater’, Times Now has gone a step further and labelled Setalvad as the ‘leader of the Anti-Mandir lobby’. These baseless and malicious allegations make Teesta Setalvad a ready target for communal forces. Which is why CJP has filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to intervene in the matter and put an end to the imminent threat to Teesta Setalvad’s life.
In an email to NHRC Chairperson, Hon’ble Justice H.L Dattu, CJP President Anil Dharker, and trustees including IM Kadri, Nandan Maluste, Alyque Padamsee, Cyrus Guzder, Javed Anand, Cedric Prakash, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Chitra Palekar and Teesta Setalvad herself, have said, “As trustees of the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), Mumbai we are concerned with the kind of venomous coverage, almost amounting to incitement of violence against our Secretary, Teesta Setalvad, that is being consciously –and may we say irresponsibly—perpetrated on some television channels. This kind of im-balanced and deliberately inciteful coverage goes against the very grain of what an independent media stands for and the guidelines laid down by both the Press Council of India and the National Broadcasting Authority.” The complaint goes on to state, “The fact that such venom is being spewed against a human rights defender and serious journalist makes the issue even more serious and worthy of investigation and correction. Already our Secretary has been attacked physically five times, and now the entire might of state aggression and the central and state agencies are being deployed against her. Her life is under serious threat. Such coverage endangers her life further.”
Sudarshan News’s report that calls Setalvad, “हिन्दुओ के खिलाफ जहर से भी जहरीला जहर उगलने वाली तीस्ता सीतलवाड़”, can be read here.
Times Now’s coverage where the are claiming “Teesta leads Anti-Mandir Brigade”, can be viewed here:
The entire complaint to NHRC may be read here:
The entire intervention petition in the Supreme Court may be read here:
CJP reiterates to the NHRC their commitment to Freedom of Speech and Expression saying, “In a civilized democracy we are committed to the freedom of expression and this means respect to a variety of views but when this freedom is abused to not simply mis-represent a set of facts, but actually air, with hysteria (amounting to incitement of physical violence) a completely twisted set of facts regarding our work represented by our Secretary, we believe it is time that these are brought to your notice.”
The NHRC have received CJP’s complaint and have responded with a Diary No: 196463/CR/2017
The Ayodhya Dispute matter comes up for hearing next in the Supreme Court in February 2018.