We are shocked and dismayed at the arrest of activist Teesta Setalvad in Varanasi today. Teesta Setalvad was visiting Banaras to attend the Yuva Samta Samvad Shivir organized by the Samajwadi Jan Parishad at Gandhi Sansthan.
The UP Government and Banaras city administration must answer why Ms Setalvad has been detained by the police? She has been given no reason for the detention – though some police personnel have expressed the fear that she may visit BHU; and others said she was being detained for “her own protection.” Such a detention is an attack on civil liberties. Has Varanasi – the constituency represented by India’s Prime Minister – been placed under an Emergency, where individuals can be arrested for no crime?
Why is the BHU Administration and UP Government looking at the movement of BHU’s women students through a political lens? Why are they unleashing police on women students and arbitrarily detaining activists completely unconnected with the BHU agitation?
We demand the release of Teesta Setalvad, and we demand an explanation from the UP Government for her arrest, and for why she was prevented from addressing the youth gathering to which she had been invited.
Gargi Chakravarty, NFIW
Asha Sharma, AIDWA
Rajni Tilak, Rashtriya Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch
Poonam Kaushik, PMS
Sucheta De, Niraj, AISA
Saba Dewan, filmmaker
Rahul Roy, filmmaker
Bittu Karnataka Janashakti, WSS
KN Ramachandran, CPI(ML) Red Star
Parth, Sabah K, Savitri Bai Ambedkar Study Circle
Payal, DU, WSS
Mrigank, IFTU
Shakeel, Basti Suraksha Manch
 Archit Krishn, lawyer
Arya, KNS
Sanjeev Walia, Yamunanagar
Shyamhir, IMK, Gurgaon
Anupam, Swaraj India