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Teesta Setalvad, the advocate of the weak

1983-2002
Teesta Setalvad, the advocate of the weak
  • Teesta Setalvad is an Indian civil rights activist and journalist. From the late 1980s, she had been reporting on the hate politics against other religions perpetrated by the Hindu right.
  • She along with her husband Javed Anand run two NGOs: Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP).
  • Teesta is also the co-founder of Communalism Combat, an advocacy magazine.

Awards and Honours

Fact
Personal

Teesta Setalvad is a recipient of Padma Shri for 'Public Affairs in Maharashtra', Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award for highlighting and helping the victims of violence and Chameli Devi Jain Award for being an outstanding woman journalist.

The incident that shook Gujarat

2002
The incident that shook Gujarat
  • The 2002 Gujarat riots was a three-day period of communal violence in the state of Gujarat following the Godhra train massacre that killed Hindu pilgrims.
  • This led to violence and mass killings of Muslims across the state.
  • Best Bakery case involved the burning down of Sheikh's bakery along with the family who took refuge inside. This happened in Vadodara on 1 March 2002.

The fight of Citizens of Justice and Peace

Apr 2002
The fight of Citizens of Justice and Peace
  • Formed on 1 April 2002, the CJP was the response of a group of citizens from Mumbai to the Gujarat genocide.
  • CJP is a co-petitioner along with Zakia Jafri seeking criminal trial of Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat and the current Prime Minister of India and 62 other politicians and government officials for complicity in the Gujarat violence of 2002.

Controversies surrounding Teesta

May 2013
Controversies surrounding Teesta
  • Teesta was accused of pressuring Zaheera Sheikh, a key witness in the Best Bakery Case to make statement for transfer of case outside Gujarat.
  • Teesta and her NGO were also accused of misappropriating funds meant for Gujarat riot victims.
  • It was claimed that donations collected from national and international organizations in the name of providing assistance to the riot victims were not passed on.

The many turns to the funds embezzlement case

2014-2015
The many turns to the funds embezzlement case
  • After receiving complaint against Teesta involving misuse of funds, Gujarat police filed a FIR against Teesta and her husband.
  • Upon failure to get anticipatory bail from both the sessions court and the Gujarat high court, Teesta's counsel approached Supreme Court.
  • The SC on 19 March 2015 referred the case to a larger bench after which a 3-judge bench was constituted in April.

Centre orders CBI to probe Teesta Setalvad's firm

27 Jun 2015
Centre orders CBI to probe Teesta Setalvad's firm
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has ordered a CBI probe into social activist Teesta Setalvad's publishing firm, Sabrang Communication Publishing Private Limited (SCPPL).
  • The allegations involved violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in accepting a donation of $2.9 lakh from Ford foundation without MHA clearance.
  • MHA had also ordered the freezing of the company's accounts.

HC grants anticipatory bail to Setalvad

12 Aug 2015
HC grants anticipatory bail to Setalvad
  • The Bombay HC granted anticipatory bail to Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand saying there was no need for custodial interrogation of the couple.
  • The court added that it was unable to find any threat to national security or public interest if they remain free.
  • The court allowed the couple to furnish one surety of ₹20,000 in case they are arrested.

Teesta's NGO license suspended for 6 months

10 Sep 2015
Teesta's NGO license suspended for 6 months
  • The home ministry suspended the registration of activist Teesta Setalvad's NGO Sabrang Trust under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.
  • It also issued a notice cancelling the FCRA registration of the NGO.
  • The ministry cited reasons including, diversion of funds to non-FCRA registered entities; using foreign contributions for purposes other than for which they were received and mixing its FCRA and domestic contributions.

SC blocks Setalvad's arrest

14 Oct 2015
SC blocks Setalvad's arrest
  • The Supreme Court restrained Gujarat Police from arresting social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband till December 8.
  • The SC also issued notice to Teesta and her husband on CBI's plea seeking cancellation of their bail granted by the Bombay HC.
  • The apex court granted Teesta and her husband four weeks time to file a reply to the notice.

Cooperate or face arrest: SC to Setalvad

28 Jan 2016
Cooperate or face arrest: SC to Setalvad
  • The SC has directed Teesta Setalvad and her husband to cooperate with the ongoing probe against alleged embezzlement of funds and FCRA violations lodged against them or be ready to face arrest.
  • For the FCRA case, the SC asked the couple to file an affidavit within two weeks explaining their stand on the issue.
  • The court however, extended their anticipatory bail till March 18.

No foreign funds for Setalvad's Sabrang Trust

17 Jun 2016
No foreign funds for Setalvad's Sabrang Trust
  • Activist Teesta Setalvad's Sabrang Trust's permanent registration was cancelled by the Modi government under the Foreign Contributions Registration Act, 2010.
  • The NGO cannot receive foreign funding but continue operations with domestic funds.
  • The Centre cited 6 violations charging Setalvad for the diversion of foreign funds to activities prohibited under the Act.
  • The NGO said that the charges displayed a complete non-application of mind.

Teesta Setalvad guilty of spreading hatred: HRD Panel

17 Oct 2016
Teesta Setalvad guilty of spreading hatred: HRD Panel
  • Former HRD Minister Smriti Irani in 2015 had created a 3-member panel for investigating complaint-based allegations against NGO Sabrang Trust.
  • The committee in its report claimed that Teesta Setalvad is responsible for "hatred-filled, disharmony-spreading, ill-will generating, enmity-creating explosive writings."
  • The panel consisted of Supreme Court lawyer Abhijit Bhattacharjee, Gujarat Central University Vice Chancellor SA Bari and a Gaya Prasad, a ministry official.

Teesta Setalvad: SC seeks Guj govt's opinion on de-freezing accounts

11 Nov 2016
Teesta Setalvad: SC seeks Guj govt's opinion on de-freezing accounts
  • The Supreme Court has given the Gujarat government 2 weeks to respond to Teesta Setalvad's petition challenging the freezing of her accounts.
  • The response is to be submitted by 16 November and the matter is scheduled for hearing on 1 December.
  • The court added that it was the Gujarat government's last chance to file a response, as they had adjourned twice already.

Setalvad siphoned off NGO funds: Cops

02 Dec 2016
Setalvad siphoned off NGO funds: Cops
  • Gujarat police said they have collected evidence that shows Teesta Setalvad and her husband siphoned off ₹3.85 crore for "personal use" from the ₹9.75 crore in donations received by their NGO.
  • Police officers prepared an affidavit detailing non-cooperation by Setalvad and her NGO in the investigation.
  • The Gujarat HC canceled their anticipatory bail plea after the SC restrained police from arresting the couple.
Sources