The Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), strongly condemns the Modi-government’s blatant hounding of activists and organizations that are opposing its anti-people development schemes on the one hand and its communal agenda on the other. The latest and most venengful so far has been the attempt to muzzle Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and the Trust set up by them, Sabrang Communications, along with another associate Gulam Mohammed Peshimam.
The first year of BJP rule has been marked by brutal bulldozing of all forms of dissent. While the plank for attacking NGOs was whether the foreign funds received by them violated FCRA regulations, the government is selective in targeting only those organisations who oppose their agenda. In January this year, Green Peace India spokesperson Priya Pillai was offloaded as she was about to board a UK-bound flight to campaign against coal block allocations in Mahan, Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh. But the dubious foreign funds received by the RSS-affiliated Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) will never be brought under a scanner by this government. Daylight murders of RTI activists, or of senior left leaders like Narendra Dhabolkar and Govind Pansare for their anti-Hindutva, anti-superstition campaigns are deliberately left unsolved by the establishment which shows the government’s complicity in these murders. The country is currently in shock by continuing killings of scores of witnesses in infamous Vyapam and Asaram cases, which cannot happen without overt or covert blessings of the ruling establishment.
The shocking 14th July CBI raid on Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand’s home and office in Mumbai is the latest example of the impunity of this government. Under the pretext of search and seizure of documents, the raid was meant to publicly humiliate and threaten Teesta and Javed and their family. The more sinister motive is of course to remove the thorn in the government’s flesh as these activists are actively pursuing the Zakia Jafri case and the Naroda Patiya appeals among many others related to the 2002 Gujarat anti-Muslim pogrom.
The Zakia Jafri case begins its final hearings on July 27 before a magistrate’s court in Ahmedabad, while the Naroda Patiya appeals against convictions filed by Maya Kodnani and Babu (Bajrangi) are being heard in the Gujarat High Court this week.
The Modi-government talks of applying the Gujarat model of governance for the whole country. The Gujarat special judge, Ms Jyotsna Yagnik, complained in May this year about receiving 22 threats since retirement, for awarding convictions in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case. Instead of enhancing her security, the BJP state government scaled it down! Among those named as accused by Ehsan Jafri’s widow Zakia Jafri for the cold-blooded murder of her husband in March 2002 is the then-joint CP, Crime Branch, A K Sharma, who is now in the CBI!
While CBI has been exposed in the past for serving as mere pawn in the hands of the Centre, it is for the first time that such a massive corruption case has been mounted against human rights activists.
The promised `Acche Din’ have definitely arrived – for scamsters like Lalit Modi, industrialists and the political patrons of the Hindutva agenda. While human rights defenders, journalists, RTI activists, and people’s organizations are being attacked and threatened daily.
CPDR condemns the targeting of NGOs and activists like Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand and demands that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad be brought under the scrutiny of the FCRA for the crores of rupees of unaccounted for foreign funds that they are the recipient of.
Dr Anand Teltumbde
Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR)
Dated: 16th July 2015