July 16:Expressing their solidarity with activist Teesta Setalvad, several opposition MPs including Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress and Sharad Yadav of JD(U) on Thursday accused the Centre of “subjecting her to the worst kind of harassment” to silence voices of dissent.
In a joint statement, the opposition leaders said the recent CBI recent raid at her residence was a “blatant misuse” of the central agency for “vindictive reasons”.Besides Yadav and Azad, who is the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Motilal Vora of Congress, KC Tyagi of JD(U) and D P Tripathi of NCP endorsed the statement, which also bore signatures of Hannan Mollah of CPI(M) and Manoj Jha of RJD.
“We express our solidarity with Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and their colleagues who are being subjected to the worst kind of harassment by the (Narendra) Modi government,” they said. Setalvad has been severely critical of the BJP government in Gujarat over the 2002 riots and her NGO has been pursuing criminal cases against the accused. The state government has accused her of working at the behest of its political opponents and charged her with misappropriating money. Anand is also an activist and her husband. The leaders hailed Setalvad, saying she had been working courageously to expose the criminal involvement of BJP leaders in the Gujarat riots, in which mostly Muslims were killed, and asserted that they were determined to support her.
They said it was no co-incidence that the raid occurred a day before the case involving former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi, both convicted, was to come up in the Gujarat High Court. “The signatories are convinced that the Modi government is determined to silence voices of dissent like that of Teesta Setalvad… We appeal to it to end its vindictive actions,” they said.
CBI had on July 13 carried out searches at premises of social activist Setalvad and her organisation in connection with a case of alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act in receiving funds from abroad without taking prior permission from the Home Ministry.