Sunday, April 6, 2014

Citizens rally for Teesta Setalvad and others

Citizens rally for Teesta Setalvad and others

Saturday 5th April 2014! A day many will surely never forget! The Mehdi Nawaz Jung  Hall in the Paldi area of Ahmedabad, which has a capacity of just about 250, was bursting at its seams, as more than a thousand citizens  had come in.

They had gathered together under the aegis of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties(PUCL) to protest against the vindictive actions, the intimidation and harassment being meted out to human rights stalwarts Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand and to victim –survivors from Gulberg Society Salimbhai Sandhi, Firoz Gulzar and Tanveer Jafri.

The Public meeting brought in people from all walks of life: victim-survivors of the Gujarat Carnage of 2002 and human rights activists; politicians and bureaucrats; intellectuals, academics, lawyers and journalists- in fact several prominent citizens of the city.  The unexpected huge turn –out was a clear sign that they were not going to take things lying down, any more!

Speaker after speaker strongly condemned the vindictive actions to which Teesta and the others were subjected to; they commended Teesta for her resoluteness , her dogged perseverance in ensuring justice in several cases of 2002;for her generosity and large-heartedness for helping those in need; everyone was clear about who were behind the false cases that were being foisted. They strongly felt that all like-minded citizens and groups should unite as fast as possible in order to make their voice heard! We need to tell  those responsible for these heinous and divisive acts that “enough is enough!”,that we will no longer tolerate these despicable acts.

Among those who addressed the large gathering were Mr Suresh Mehta, the former Chief Minister of Gujarat; Mr Gyasuddin Shaikh MLA, Mr. S. M. Peerzada retd. Sessions Judge,Mr R. B. Sreekumar the retd. Additional Director General of Police, Gujarat;Mr Iqbal Shaikh , Sr. Central Counsel Gujarat High Court: Ms Rupaben Mody  and Ms Sairaben Sandhi victim-survivors from Gulberg Society; Sophia Khan and Fr Cedric Prakash, human rights activists. The Municipal Councillor from Gomtipur Mr Iqbal Shiekh  led a huge procession to the hall carrying placards in defense of Teesta and condemning all that the Govt of Gujarat was doing to harass  those who were fighting for peace and justice.

The meeting ended with a clear statement “Don’t Intimidate those marching for Justice and Reparation”…and a pledge that until the false cases against Teesta and others, are not withdrawn- the struggle of the citizens of Gujarat , will only intensify in the coming days !

Don’t Intimidate those Marching for Justice and Reparation

A Survivors and Citizens meeting was organised at the Mehdi Jung Hall Paldi, Ahmedabad today between 3-5 p.m.. under the banner of PUCL Ahmedabad to protest the Vindictive Action against those struggling for justice (Survivors Salimbhai Sandhi, Firoz Gulzar, Tanveer Jafri, Javed Anand and Teesta Setalvad).

Former CM Sureshbhai Mehta and RB Sreekumar were there with Cedric Prakash, Sofia Khan Sairabehn Sandhi, Rupabehn Mody and over 1,000 others. Local MLAs and Corporators also took the lead. Great energy and enthusiasm was witnessed at the meeting.

The message was: Don’t Intimidate those Marching for Justice and Reparation. A hall of 250 capacity was overflowing..Over 1,000 persons attended. Photos are matched.

We shall overcome

The cost of the struggle for dignity, justice and reparation, personal and material is high. Twelve years down our success rate is 117 Life Imprisonments in Major 2002 Carnage Cases, monitored by the SC where Witness  Protection is still being given. I(n all except the Bilqees Bano Case [12 convicted] CJP's team has been directly involved working with Survivor Eye Witnesses, Getting Threatened nd Maligned. To top it all is the Zakia Jafir vs  Narendra Modi and Others case now pending hearing in appeal in the Gujarat HC. Four times Anticipatory Bail Vilification and Threat. The Cost for Justice needs to be computed in these terms. Can there be justice without a citizens legal rights groups supporting Victim Survivors when the State is Perpetrator? A question that our Lofty System could do well to answer

Teesta Setalvad

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