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CPI(M) Protest March in Kolkata Demands Release of Teesta Setalvad

CPI(M) West Bengal secretary Mohammad Salim said that the Gujarat genocide cannot be erased by the ‘mockery’ in the name of justice.
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Left leaders, social activists and other prominent personalities demand the release of arrested social and human rights activist Teesta Setalvad in Kolkata on Sunday.

The CPI(M) has severely criticised the arrest of social and human rights activist Teesta Setalvad in a fresh case of forgery, criminal conspiracy and insulting criminal proceedings to cause injury.

Setalvad, the secretary of NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), was detained from her Juhu house in Mumbai on Saturday based on an FIR registered against her by inspector DB Barad at the Ahmedabad crime branch. Subsequently, she was brought to Ahmedabad and arrested on Sunday.

The FIR was lodged after the Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging the clean chit given by the Special Investigation Team to then-Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 Godhra riots cases.

“If Judges can’t deliver justice, common people will take to the streets and snatch justice. Even the British could not suppress Indians,” CPI(M) West Bengal secretary Mohammad Salim said after a procession demanding Setalvad’s release in Kolkata on Sunday.

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Left leaders, social activists and other prominent personalities demand the release of arrested social and human rights activist Teesta Setalvad in Kolkata on Sunday.

Thousands of people, including Salim, Left Front chairman Biman Bose, prominent actor Badsha Maitra, social activist Saira Shah Halim and other prominent personalities, marched on the rain-soaked road connecting Park Circus to Entally Market protesting Setalvad’s “unjust” arrest.

Demanding Setalvad’s immediate release, Salim said, “The scars of the Gujarat genocide could not be erased by the mockery in the name of justice. Modi and Amit Shah cannot prove their innocence in any way. Not everyone has a weak spine that can bend out of fear. Teesta Setalvad played an important role in revealing the truth after the Gujarat genocide.”

Lauding the activist for “questioning why Ehsan Jafri [Gujarat Congress leader and MP] was burnt to death by the rampaging mob in Ahmedabad in February 2002 and neither the police nor the Army was used to protest him and other victims”, Salim said, “A lot of information came to the fore and the names of many people involved in the genocide were made public because of her efforts.”

Before the beginning of the protest march, Bose told the media that the arrest of Setalvad, who “stood by the devastated people of Gujarat after the genocide”, is an “attack on democracy. We demand the immediate release of all human rights and social activists, including Teesta Setalvad”.

Setalvad has been fighting for the riot victims for almost two decades. Her book Foot Soldier of the Constitution contains various evidence of the Gujarat riots.

The FIRs also names former Gujarat director general of police RB Sreekumar and suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, who is already in jail in another case. The three have been accused under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic records), 120(B) (criminal conspiracy), 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with the intent to procure conviction of capital offence) and 211 (false charge of offence made to injure).

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