Free Teesta Setalvad: End the persecution of writers and activists in India

Journalist and human rights activist Teesta Setalvad

Indian journalist and activist Teesta Setalvad was arrested on June 25, 2022 late into the night at her home in Mumbai. Her arrest was made on the basis of a first-information-report (FIR) that alleges that she urged on witnesses and fabricated materials produced on the anti-Muslim pogrom that took place in Gujarat in 2002. Teesta Setalvad is being held alongside two former government officials who worked with her to collect and disseminate information on the pogroms: RB Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt. The FIR was framed after the Indian Supreme Court called upon Teesta Setalvad to be investigated for her role in trying to fight for justice for the survivors and the victims of the violence. 

A human rights defender sits in a prison cell in Ahmedabad, India, while those who authored the violence are in positions of power.

Setalvad is secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace, an organization that she formed to help advocate for the victims and survivors of the 2002 Gujarat pogrom. The respected lawyer Indira Jaising wrote in 2015, ‘The case against Teesta smacks of a plan to deter her from assisting victims of the Gujarat 2002 riots. The financial dealings of Teesta and CJP can be probed, but the disproportionality of the legal process, the timing, and the insistence of the prosecution on custodial interrogation, smack of vendetta’.

The persecution of Setalvad is not singular. She is only one of many writers and activists who are sitting in prison in India only because they want to investigate the illegalities conducted by the forces close to the ruling party in India.

Stop the persecution of Teesta Setalvad!