Who is Teesta Setalvad? And the allegations against her.

Jun 30, 2022 09:00 am

Teesta Setalvad (born 9 February 1962) is a Indian civil rights activist and journalist. She is the secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), an organisation formed to advocate for the victims of 2002 Gujarat riots.

Setalvad and her NGO were co-petitioner with Zakia Jafri (wife of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the Gulberg massacre) in the plea filed against then-chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the Supreme Court. The SC dismissed the petition on Friday and upheld the clean chit given to Modi and others.

The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) last week arrested Mumbai-based activist Teesta Setalvad in connection with a fresh case of forgery, criminal conspiracy and placing false evidence in court to frame innocent people in the 2002 Gujarat riots case.

The action came a day after the Supreme Court dismissed a plea challenging SIT’s clean chit to the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others in cases related to the 2002 riots.

A court in Ahmedabad on Sunday remanded Setalvad and former state DGP Sreekumar in police custody till July 2 in a case of allegedly fabricating evidence to frame innocent persons in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.

To probe the case, the Gujarat police have formed an SIT headed by Deputy Inspector General (Anti-Terrorist Squad) Deepan Bhadran.

Jafri’s husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was killed during the riots. Setalvad spearheaded the cause of the riot victims and in 2007 pushed the Supreme Court into launching a fresh probe into the post-Godhra violence six years later.

Backed by CJP, Jafri had filed a criminal complaint for criminal and administrative culpability against top politicians and policemen, including the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi. This is separate from the Gulberg trial on the killing of Ehsan Jafri and 68 others.

Several charges were leveled against Setalvad in 2006, including allegedly hurting religious sentiments, fabricating false evidence, and trespassing on burial places among other charges. She was also slammed by the BJP for attacking Modi without “substantial evidence” and running a defamation campaign against him.