Mumbai Protest Against Teesta Setalvad’s Arrest


Around 1000 persons converged around Dadar station in Mumbai in a protest organised by Left organisations on Monday evening to condemn the arrest of Mumbai-based social activist activist Teesta Setalvad by the Gujarat police for allegedly submitting false evidence in the 2002 Gujarat riots case.

Most positive to witness the traditional secular sprit of Mumbai ressurected with fervour of Hindutva fascist Communalism at fervour or boiling point. One got echoes of the burning rage within the hearts of secular minded people after 1993 riots in Mumbai and Godhra riots.Hatred against the fascism of Narandra Modi and in solidarity with an activist striving for the truth was written on the faces f the activists.It is ample proof thatthere are genuine forces prevailing which are a thorn in the flesh fo Hindutva fascists.A prouda day for a secular Mumbai citizen.

The protesters, holding placards, vociferously raised slogans in support of Setalvad, condemning the BJP, which is in power in Gujarat, in no uncertain terms.

The protest went of peacefully without any untoward incident, in the view of the area police officer.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) had jointly staged the protest .Heartening that members of various other organizations including NGO’s and people from many walks of life. also participated in the demonstration to show solidarity with Setalvad.

Noted filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, freedom fighter GG Parikh, Dr SK Rege of the CPI (M), Prakash Reddy of the CPI, Shyam Gohil of the CPI (ML) and Feroz Mithibhorwala of Hum Bharat Ke Log, Trade Union leader Milind Ranade  of Shramik Union,Centre of Studies for secularism president Irfan Engineer ,democratic activist Salim Sabboowala,Trade Union lawyer Ravi Joshi  among others, were prominent participants. Perhaps the presence of effective Ambedekarite leaders and activists was missing.lik efrom Republican panthers, R.P.I etc.

Feroze Mithiborewala.,Milind Ranade,Vidhya Chawan and G.S Parikh most assertively illustrated the innocence of Teesta and the nefarious fascist design sof the BJP to implicate her. and that in reality India does ot function as a bourgeois democracy.

Quoting Milind Ranade “What was Teesta’s crime? She only stood by the people who faced injustice. The BJP government is crushing the democracy of our country. It is taking the country backwards and towards darkness which has forced the common man to come out on the streets and save democracy.”

Feroze Mithiborwala, said, “When a human rights defender, a journalist goes to court, the court turns around and asks for an investigation against the same person. What kind of a Supreme Court and what kind of a justice system do we have in our country? The Supreme Court is in contempt of the people of India, they are in contempt of the constitution of India. This is a continuous fight against fascism and therefore we have come out on the streets today.”

G G Parekh, a 98-year-old protester who was also part of quit India movement in 1942, said, “I have lived the fight during independence when we dreamed of a free country, but now I am seeing that dream being crushed by this government”

Vidhya Chawan, said, “The ATS is taking away the common man, instead of catching the real terrorists. She was a journalist, not a terrorist. Teesta fought for people who faced injustice and I was always in awe of her immense courage. Our country still has honest judges and journalists but they are getting silenced. But we will continue to fight even if they put us in jail or run bulldozers over us.”

Trade Union lawyer Ravi Joshi spoke most admirably about the gathering stating it took democratic and secular pitch to its fervour.

Harsh Thakor is a freelance Journalist from Mumbai who has travelled around India to cover mass movements and been linked to the secular democratic movement in Mumbai.

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