Group of writers, cultural leaders from Kerala issue statement against Teesta Setalvad’s arrest

A group of writers, film professionals and cultural leaders from Kerala has protested against the arrest of human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and former DGP R B Sreekumar after conspiracy charges were levelled against the two in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots cases following a Supreme Court order earlier this month which said that they wanted “to keep the pot boiling for ulterior design”.

In a statement, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, K Satchidanandan, M Mukundan, K Venu, Sara Joseph and others said the Centre had jailed Setalvad and Sreekumar under the guise of certain observations of the Supreme Court. Setalvad had been engaged in various activities aimed at ensuring peace and communal harmony in Gujarat, they said, adding that the Padma award recipient had been engaged in rehabilitating victims of the Gujarat riots and in fighting legal battles to ensure justice to them.

The statement said former DGP Sreekumar, who was familiar with the chronology of the riots, had been at the forefront of bringing out “several truths which the rulers wanted to cover up”.

The arrest of Setalvad and Sreekumar is part of an agenda to suppress dissenting voices and to overwhelm the civil rights of citizens, it added. “All those who believe in secular and democratic values should protest against the prevailing undeclaring emergency situation and flagrant autocratic system,” said the statement.

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