NOAM CHOMSKY, ROMILA THAPAR & IRFAN HABIB IN SOLIDARITY WITH TEESTA AND JAVED

Politics of Vendetta Shall not Defeat the Cause of Justice
 
Statement in Solidarity with Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand
Romila 1noam chomskyIrfan_Habib
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.
As the government headed by Narendra Modi launches a fresh investigation into the 1984 carnage on the streets of Delhi – a measure that we would welcome except for the obvious partisan motivation behind it – we are shocked to see this persisting spirit of vendetta against an effort to enforce legal and moral accountability for an equally horrific massacre in Gujarat.
The Gujarat police’s alacrity inturning up at the doorstep of Teesta and Javed’s Mumbai residence within minutes after the High Court in Gandhinagar pronounced that it would not entertain their plea for anticipatory bail, suggests an intent to bully and intimidate. The ostensible reason, that Teesta and Javed are required for “custodial interrogation” is an unwitting, but nonetheless chilling confession of the Gujarat police’s real intent.
We have serious doubts about the bonafide of the complainants in this matter, but have taken the trouble of familiarising ourselves with the nature of the charges they make. 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. These funds were received in the accounts of Sabrang, one among two trusts that have been engaged in the cause of justice for the 2002 riots. The other trust of which Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand are executive functionaries – Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) – has received far larger donations for the cause of pursuing avenues of legal redress for the 2002 victims and survivors. Curiously, every withdrawal for petty cash expenses for the activities of the Trust has been portrayed by the prosecution as an instance of defalcation for personal ends. Honrarium or salaries paid to Teesta and Javed have been similarly presented, though these are fully in conformity with memoranda of understanding and agreements arrived at between their trusts and donor agencies.
There are several such patent distortions of fact in the prosecution case. For their part, Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, we understand, have submitted all relevant invoices clarifying the purposes of every one of the impugned cash withdrawals. These number some 11,000 documents and have been available with the investigating agencies for several weeks.
By way of background, we wouldlike to recall that the Supreme Court has at least twice in past years, made adverse observations about the Gujarat state government’s campaign of vilification against Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand. The first such instance was in 2004, after elements within the ruling party in Gujarat pressured and in other ways induced a key witness in the Best Bakery case, Zaheera Sheikh, to change her testimony so that charges of obstructing the course of justice and perjury could be brought against Teesta. A second instance was in 2010-11, whenmalicious charges of exhuming the bodies of riot victims from their graves werebrought and summarily dismissed as absurd by the highest court.
We are shocked at the tone of some of the media coverage, especially in some television news channels. These have made a bonfire of the basic principle of fairness and due process, which is the presumption of innocence. They have also shown more than the usual aversion tounderstanding issues of complexity, though these are not matters that wouldchallenge more than the average intelligence.
We extend our solidarity to Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand in this hour of trial and reaffirm our unstinting support to the cause they are engaged in.
IrfanHabib
Noam Chomsky
Ashok Mitra
RomilaThapar
Amiya Kumar Bagchi
Vivan Sundaram
Prabhat Patnaik
Mushirul Hasan
Kumar Shahani
Aijaz Ahmad
Sheldon Pollock
Akeel Bilgrami
Nilima Sheikh
Mihir Bhattacharya
Saeed Mirza
Sashi Kumar
Ram Rahman
Sukumar Muralidharan
Aashish Yadav
Aban Raza
Abdullah A Rahman
Abha Dev Habib
Abhilasha Kumari
Adil Qureshi
Aditya Mukherjee
Aditi Chowdhury
Aditi Raina
Ahmar Raza
Akila J ayaraman
Ali Ahmad
Ali Akbar Mehta
Amar Farooqui
Ameet Parmeswaran
Amol Saghar
Anant Raina
Anil Bhatti
AnilChandra
Anil Nauria
Anil Sadgopal
Anisha Imhasly
Anita Cherian
Anjali Raina
Annie Chatterji
Annie Mathew
Anuradha Chenoy
Anuradha Kapur
ArchanaHande
Archana Prasad
Arjun Dev
Arpana Caur
Asad Zaidi
Asok nath Basu
Attaullah
Atul Bhardwaj
Ayesha Kidwai
B P Sahu
Badri Raina
Bhanu Mehta
Bharati Kapadia
Bina Sarkar
Biswamoy Pati
Bratati Pande
CP Chandrasekhar
Caecillia Tripp
Carol Rovane
Chanchal Chauhan
Chandana Mathur
Chitra Joshi
DN Jha
Daanish Raj
Dev Benegal
Dinesh Abrol
Dinesh  Mohan
Estelle Desai
GauravS
Gautam Arora
Geeta Kapur
GeetiDas
GithaHariharan
GulammohammedSheikh
HansKaushik
HarishJ Padmanabhan
Harsh Kapoor
HassanSuroor
Indira Arjun Dev
Indira Chandrasekhar
IndrapramitRoy
Iqtidar Alam Khan
IraRaja
Ishrat Alam
JaikrishanAgarwala
JamshedChenoy
JanakiNair
Jauhar Kanungo
Javed Malick
Jayati Ghosh
JehangirJani
KM Venugopalan
KSatchidanandan
K M Shrimali
KabirChandra
KamalMitra Chenoy
KanadSinha
KanishkaPrasad
KannanSundaram
KaushikMukhopadhayay
KevalArora
KirtanaKumar
KrishnaShekhawat
KumiChandra
KumkumSangari
KunalChakrabarti
LJagannath
Lata Singh
LawrenceSurendra
Lima Kanungo
M K Raina
Madan Gopal Singh
Madhu Prasad
Malini Bhattacharya
ManuChandra
MayaK Rao
MeeraDevidayal
MeeraMenezes
MiraChandra
MithuSen
MitulBaruah
Mohan Rao
Mohd.Arif
MoloyashreeHashmi
Mridula Mukherjee
MukulMangalik
N K Sharma
NaliniMalani
Neeraj Malick
Nilima Sheikh
NinaRao
Pabitra Sarkar
PadmajaShah
ParthaChatterjee
ParthivShah
ParthoDatta
Prabhat Shukla
PrabirPurkayastha
PrachiNarayan
PraveenJha
PushpamalaN
RVijayashankar
R K Poddar
R C Thakran
R G Mukhopadhyay
RadhikaDesai
RadhikaMenon
Rahul Verma
RajendraPrasad
Rajinder Arora
RajniBhagat Arora
Rakhshanda Jalil
RaniRay
RashmiKaleka
Ratnabali Chattopadhyay
RitambharaShastri
RubinD’Cruz
Ruchira Gupta
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S Kalidas
Saeed Mirza
SaifMahmood
SmitaGupta
SavitaSingh
SeemaMustafa
ShahanaBhattacharya
ShainaAnand
Shakti Kak
ShankarChandra
ShankhayanChowdhury
SharmilaSamant
ShebaChhachhi
ShernaDastur
ShikhaJhingan
ShireenJungalwala
Shireen Moosvi
ShivajiPanikkar
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SiddharthVaradarajan
Sujata Madhok
S KDas
SohailHashmi
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SubhashiniAli
SumeshSharma
SumitChowdhury
SunilKothari
Suvira Jaiswal
SyedHasan Kazim
SyedaHameed
Tarun Majumdar
Tirthankar Chattopadhyay
TusharJoag
UpendraTrivedi
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8 thoughts on “NOAM CHOMSKY, ROMILA THAPAR & IRFAN HABIB IN SOLIDARITY WITH TEESTA AND JAVED

  1. Why I should show solidarity with d lady who only showing mercy on only one community? What about her consciousness at the time of Godhra train massacre? If she had not done any financial misdeed, then why she should worry?

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