Huge outpouring of solidarity and support for Teesta Setalvad The human rights defender was arrested by the Gujarat ATS and taken to Ahmedabad on June 25

26, Jun 2022 | CJP Team

At the time of filing this update, human rights defender Teesta Setalvad remains in the custody of the Ahmedabad police, after being arrested in Mumbai yesterday. The 60-year-old journalist and activist is likely to be produced before a magistrate soon.

After Setalvad’s arrest, former Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) RB Sreekumar was also arrested in Ahmedabad, while former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt is already behind bars under trumped up charges in a custodial death case.

But support has been pouring in for the fearless human rights defender who did not give up her quest for justice even when the present regime came to power. Indeed, many are openly criticizing a vindictive regime for targeting Setalvad.

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders has now demanded Setalvad’s release saying, “Teesta is a strong voice against hatred and discrimination. Defending human rights is not a crime.”


International humanitarian organization Amnesty’s India unit, that has itself faced persecution on trumped up pertaining to obtaining foreign funds, has called Setalvad’s arrest “a direct reprisal against those who dare to question their human rights record,” and said, “It sends a chilling message to the civil society & further shrinks the space for dissent in the country.”

The All India Democratic Women’s Association has also issued a formal statement saying that it “strongly condemns the arrest of activist and human rights fighter, Teesta Setalvad, by the Gujarat ATS. After the unfortunate SC decision to throw out the appeal filed by Zakia Jafri whose husband, Ehsan Jafri was brutally killed in the Gujarat pogrom, the Gujarat police has lost no time in arresting Teesta Setalvad who has stood with Ms Jafri like a rock. It is this and her other acts of exemplary courage for which she is being victimised. AIDWA demands that the false case against her be immediately withdrawn and harassment stopped.”

The Rihai Manch issued a statement saying that it “strongly condemns the arrest of senior human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and former IPS officer RB Sreekumar by the Gujarat ATS.” They have demanded the immediate release of the arrested activists and that the charges against them be dropped.

In the meantime, support has been pouring in for Setalvad with several activists, journalists and other civil society members tweeting and issuing statements demanding justice for her. More people are coming out in Setalvad’s support and lauding the human rights defender for her tireless campaign to get justice for the voiceless and the disempowered.

Among political parties the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) has stood firmly by Setalvad. CPI (ML) leader Kavita Krishnan was one of the first to tweet about her detention:

Now the party has issued a formal statement condemning her “politically vindictive” arrest. Referring to the Supreme Court judgment in the Zakai Jafri case, the CPI (ML) said, “Certain observations in the Supreme Court’s judgment itself have, shamefully, paved the way for this vindictive prosecution. The judgment did not stop at dismissing the petition for lack of grounds. It named and blamed Teesta Setalvad for allegedly exploiting Zakia Jafri’s pain, asking that she as well as those public servants of Gujarat contradicted the Gujarat police’s narrative be put “in the dock” for their efforts.” It added, “It does not augur well for a democracy when the Supreme Court inexplicably criminalises this pursuit of justice and calls for every person involved need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law.”

Meanwhile, the CPI (M) has planned a peaceful protest in Kolkata at 5 P.M today:

Another call for a peaceful protest on June 27 says, “The judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Zakia Jafri v State of Gujarat, dismissing the petition filed by Zakia Jafri calling for an investigation into the conspiracy to hatch the events resulting in communal violence following the Godhra train burning, deepens the sense of injustice and marks a moment of profound hurt and loss as far as all those who care about constitutional values.” It further said, “The state has now used the observations made in the judgment to falsely and vindictively prosecute those who had struggled for justice even in the face of state callousness and complicity. It is truly an Orwellian situation of the lie becoming the truth, when those who fought to establish the truth of what happened in the Gujarat genocide of 2002 are being targeted.”

The activists condemned “this naked and brazen attempt to silence and criminalize those who stand for constitutional values and who have struggled against very difficult odds to try to achieve justice for the victims of 2002,” and demanded that “this false and vindictive FIR be taken back unconditionally and Teesta Setalvad and others detained under this FIR be released immediately.” It has been endorsed by:

  • V. Suresh, General Secretary, PUCL
  • Medha Patkar, NAPM
  • Apoorvanand, Writer and Columnist
  • Rooprekha Verma, Former VC, Lucknow University
  • Aruna Roy, MKSS
  • Shabnam Hashmi, Anhad
  • Arvind Narrain, PUCL Karnataka
  • Kavita Srivastava, PUCL
  • Gauhar Raza, Poet and Activist
  • Lara Jesani, PUCL Maharashtra
  • Nikhil Dey, MKSS


PRESS RELEASE: Teesta Setalvad roughed up as Gujarat ATS personnel barge into her home



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