India’s Supreme Court, in a recent judgement, upheld the findings of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) that had cleared Prime Minister Narendra Modi of any involvement in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar upheld the SIT’s 2012 decision to give a clean chit to Modi and observed that Teesta Setalvad, co-petitioner in the case, exploited the emotions of Zakia Jafri.
The SC said in its order: “All those involved in such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with the law.”
“Antecedents of Teesta Setalvad need to be reckoned with and also because she has been vindictively persecuting this lis [dispute] for her ulterior design by exploiting the emotions and sentiments of Zakia Jafri, the real victim of the circumstances.”
After this observation from the Supreme Court of India, Teesta Stalvad was arrested by Indian police.
However, the Asia Director of Australia’s Human Rights Watch (HRW) Elaine Pearson joined the so-called global experts on India to express concern over the arrest of Setalvad.
This has drawn sharp reactions from concerned netizens who schooled Australia’s HRW boss over her biased tweet overlooking the SC judgment.
Sarah Gates, a well-known Australian activist, pointed to HRW’s dwindling reputation and questioned political partiality.
Others also started throwing facts at Ms Pearson.
Teesta Setalvad, who is a Mumbai-based journalist and a founding trustee and secretary of the NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), in her two-decade-long campaign, had given false information to the various courts and SIT in a bid to tarnish the image of Modi.
Based on an FIR by Darshansinh B. Barad, the Gujarat Police’s Crime Branch picked up Ms Stealvad from her Mumbai home under sections 468, 471, 194, 211, 218, and 120B of the IPC.
HRW was forced to publish a statement on its website saying that accepting the funding was a “deeply regrettable decision”.