India: the Defense of Human Rights Defenders Testa Setalvad and Javed Anand goes internationalWednesday 18 February 2015, by siawi3
Statement of Solidarity
As international networks and organisations concerned with
equality between all citizens before the law, standing for secularism as
prevention of communalism, we are closely following and monitoring the case
against human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and husband Javed Anand in
with Human Rights Defenders
Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, India
We noted with great concern that it is not the first allegation made against them in the past few years, in the vain hope, it seems, to stop them from asking the right questions to government after the 2002 Gujarat massacre, pursuing accountability of Hindu-right organizations and persons for communal violence and religious-ethnic cleansing, and standing for the victims and survivors.
Teesta Setalavad filed 68 court cases on their behalf.
Having closely followed their work for a long time, even prior to the 2002 massacres , we know their personal integrity and have no doubt that, just like with previous false allegations made against them, the present allegation will also been discarted as fabricated in the court of law.
However, we noted the swiftness with which the police came to arrest them, as soon as they saw a legal opportunity to do so. We are therefore concerned with their safety. Attempting to arrest them for interrogation – on accusations of misuse of funds ! – simply amounts to harassment and intimidation of these rights defenders.
Moreover, their accounts have been frozen for more than 8 months, making their human rights work on behalf of the Gujarat victims and survivors more and more difficult to sustain, as well as their own legal defense. This seems like a deliberate attempt by the BJP government of Gujarat to silence these defenders.
We will be making sure that the case is being watched internationally. Several international networks have been alerted, and the relevant UN Special Rapporteurs are being approached to ensure their security as human rights defenders.
Secularism Is a Women’s Issue
Women Living Under Muslim Laws
One Law For All
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran
Bread and Roses TV
Southall Black Sisters
Center for Secular Space
VP Atheist Coalition Poland
Europejska Feministyczna Inicjatywa
Groupe de recherche sur les femmes et les lois (GREFELS),
Marieme Helie Lucas, Algeria/France
Fatou Sow, Sénégal
Kate Smurthwaite, comedian and activist, UK
Pragna Patel, UK
Chris Moos, Secularist activist and researcher, UK
Gita Sahgal, Director Center for Secular Space India/UK
Hameeda Hossain, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Nina Sankari, Poland
Codou Bop, Sénégal
Sultana Kamal, Bangladesh
Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis, Director, Centre for Research on Migration, refugees and Belonging (CMRB), University of East London (UEL), UK
Yasmin Rehman, UK