Outrage in several Indian cities over Teesta Setalvad’s arrest

New Delhi, June 30 (KMS): Protests held in several Indian cities over the arrest of human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, who attempted to have Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared complicit in deadly anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat, India, 20 years ago.

Teesta Setalvad is an Indian civil rights activist and journalist. She is the secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace, an organisation formed to advocate for the victims of 2002 Gujarat anti-Muslim riots, carried out under the supervision of Narendra Modi, the-then chief minister of the Indian state.

Mumbai Press Club expressed shock and dismay at the arrest, calling for an end to the politics of vengeance. Human Rights Watch has urged Indian authorities to immediately release the prominent human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, drop all charges against her and stop their relentless attacks against her.

Director of South Asia at Human Rights Watch, Meenakshi Ganguly had said, “These arrests are clearly reprisals for pursuing justice for victims of the Gujarat riots and attempting to hold those who were in power accountable.”

A Human Rights Watch 2002 report on the riots found that the Gujarat authorities failed to take adequate steps to end the violence and had interfered in investigations by targeting activists.

In 2005, the US government denied Modi a diplomatic visa to visit the US and revoked his existing 10-year business or tourist visa, citing violations of religious freedom. UN special rapporteur on human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor described Setalvad as a strong voice against hatred and discrimination.

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