Enough evidence to prosecute Modi: Teesta Setalvad

“I don’t know if there’s enough evidence to convict him. But to derail the possibility of prosecution is to actually deny that any evidence exists”

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Pranita Kulkarni | March 7, 2017 | New Delhi


#book discussion   #Narendra Modi   #Teesta Setalvad  


 
Reiterating that the state had a definite role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, social activist Teesta Setalvad said on Monday that the there’s enough evidence to prosecute the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi. “I don’t know if there’s enough evidence to convict him. But to derail the possibility of prosecution is to actually deny that any evidence exists,” she said.
 
Setalvad was speaking at a discussion of her memoir: ‘Foot Soldier of the Constitution: A Memoir’, organised by The Caravan in association with Press Club of India and LeftWord publications in New Delhi. The book narrates her life experiences revolving around the 2002 Gujarat massacre. The discussion was moderated by journalist Hartosh Singh Bal.
 
Speaking about the possibility of prosecution, Setalvad said that it’s not a closed chapter yet. “The SIT appointed by it [supreme court] said that there’s not enough evidence to prosecute, but the Amicus Curiae filed by… Raju Ramchandran had clearly said that there’s enough evidence to prosecute.”
She cited a statement by author Vibhuti Narayan Rai from an interview in which he had said, “No communal riot can continue for more than 24 hours, if the state doesn’t support it.”
 
Setalvad added, “For me, it’s a test for the courts. It’s a real test for the courts in this country that whether they can stomach this evidence and digest it.”
She also said that the SIT has become hostile to the [riot] survivors, and conflict of interest plays a role in this hostility. “The SIT lawyers get Rs 9 lakhs per hearing in the court. I have an RTI reply to confirm this information. And who is paying them? The Gujarat government! How can it not be a conflict of interest?” she questioned.
 
Taking on the incumbent government, she said that the situation in India is worse than the USA, because “Trump doesn’t have an RSS behind him.” Calling the government a “crude force”, she said that the “legitimisation of hatred” is underway.
 
“There’s push-back on the Forest Rights Act, push-back on land acquisition. Gujarat, Maharashtra, MP – all three BJP states have passed a land acquisition bill, which is awful, which is worse than the land ordinance at the centre. What stumps me about the UPA 2 is, that the Congress has not been able to defend the good legislations, the good rights bills passed under UPA 1 and UPA 2,” said Setalvad.
 
The book discussion was supposed to take place at the Oxford Book Store in Connaught Place but had to be shifted to a different venue, as Oxford opted out of the event citing ‘hostile’ circumstances in Delhi. 
 

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