Stop harassing Teesta Setalvad, top intellectuals tell government | india | Hindustan Times
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Stop harassing Teesta Setalvad, top intellectuals tell government

A group of prominent intellectuals from India and abroad, including linguist Noam Chomsky, have issued a statement in solidarity with social activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand on Monday, stating that they are “shocked to see this persisting spirit of vendetta against an effort to enforce legal and moral accountability for … massacre in Gujarat.”

india Updated: Feb 18, 2015 08:43 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
In-this-file-photo-social-activist-Teesta-Setalvad-speaks-to-the-media-during-a-press-conference-in-Ahmedabad-AFP-Photo-Sam-Panthaky
In-this-file-photo-social-activist-Teesta-Setalvad-speaks-to-the-media-during-a-press-conference-in-Ahmedabad-AFP-Photo-Sam-Panthaky

A group of prominent intellectuals from India and abroad, including linguist Noam Chomsky, have issued a statement in solidarity with social activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, saying they are “shocked to see this persisting spirit of vendetta against an effort to enforce legal and moral accountability for … massacre in Gujarat”.

Setalvad and Anand grabbed headlines following the 2002 Gujarat riots for standing by the victims and exposing the role of the state administration, attracting global attention.

Titled “Politics of Vendetta Shall not Defeat the Cause of Justice”, the statement was signed by Chomsky, historians Irfan Habib and Romila Thapar, economist Amiya Bagchi, Prabhat Patnaik, and Ashok Mitra, noted Sanskrit scholar Sheldon Pollock, film-maker Kumar Sahani and screenwriter Saeed Mirza, among others.

“Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, who have fought a long and heroic battle to advance the cause of justice for Gujarat’s 2002 pogrom, face possible prosecution on charges of financial misappropriation. We see this as a clear case of the politics of vendetta launched with explicit intent to whitewash and efface from public memory the misdeeds of those who today wield political power in the state and centre,” they wrote in the statement issued on Monday.

The statement is being circulated through emails and social networking sites. It has more than 100 signatories.

“An utterly trivial complaint has been inflated by the prosecution into charges involving crores, when the actual magnitude of funds received for the impugned purpose – building a museum of remembrance in Ahmedabad for victims of communal violence – was a mere Rs 4.6 lakh,” the statement reads.

Gujarat police are trying to arrest Setalvad and her husband, Anand, on charges of misappropriation of funds and have said that they need to take the duo in their custody for interrogation. Supreme Court has stayed their arrests till February 19.