Amnesty India on Saturday condemned the detention of human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and raised questions over the highandedness of Indian authorities. In its official tweet it said that the activist’s detention sends a chilling message to the civil society and further shrinks the space for dissent in the country.
Human rights activist and journalist Teesta Setalvad who runs the NGO ‘Citizens for Justice and Peace’, formed after the 2002 Gujarat riots, was detained by the Gujarat anti-terrorist squad, in Mumbai on Saturday.
Amnesty India demanded the Indian authorities immediately release Teesta and end the persecution of Indian civil society and human rights defenders.
On June 24, the Supreme Court of India dismissed allegations of a “larger conspiracy” levelled by Zakia Jafri, wife of slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, who was brutally killed during the riots.
Teesta’s arrest comes hours after Union Home Minister Amit Shah accused her of fabricating and conspiring baseless allegations about the 2002 Gujarat riots to the police.
“I have read the judgement very carefully. The judgement clearly mentions the name of Teesta Setalvad. The NGO that was run being run by her, I don’t remember the name of the NGO, had given baseless information about the riots to the police,” Amit Shah, in an exclusive interview, told ANI.
The FIR lodged against Teesta cites various provisions of the Indian Penal Code including 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic records), 120(B) (criminal conspiracy), 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with the intent to procure conviction of capital offence),and 211 (false charge of offence made to injure).
Along with her two former IPS officers, Sanjeev Bhatt – already in jail for another matter – and R.B. Sreekumar (retired) have also been named.