Gujarat authorities file charges in court against human rights defender Teesta Setalvad
Law enforcement authorities of Gujarat state are continuing the judicial harassment of renowned human rights defender Teesta Setalvad, as well as whistleblowers R. B. Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt, both former police officers, by filing fresh charges against them.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Deepan Bhadran, who heads the state’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) and Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), has confirmed that the charges accuse Setalvad and Sreekumar of “forging evidence” linking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the mass slaughter of Muslim families at the hands of Hindu mobs during the 2002 Gujarat pogroms.
Setalvad was only recently released from prison on bail after being arrested for a similar set of charges. She has been at the forefront of the attempt to bring justice to the families of the Muslim victims of the Gujarat pogroms, and as such is facing retribution from the state.
Supreme Court criticizes Karnataka HC for questioning hijab as an essential practice
While hearing challenges against the Karnataka High Court’s unconstitutional ban on hijabs in schools, Indian Supreme Court Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia criticized the High Court for attempting to question whether or not the hijab is an essential religious practice.
“[The] High Court should not have gone into [the essential religious practice test]… They have not gone to the original text [the Quran]. [The] other [petitioners] are giving another commentary. Who will decide which commentary is right?” he asked.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Karnataka state, claimed that the Quran’s verses are not compelling enough evidence to support the notion that hijab is an essential practice.
“They have to show it is so compelling… It can be a permissible practice or at best an ideal practice but not an essential practice,” said Mehta, a Hindu who has no background in Islamic jurisprudence. The majority of Muslim clerics worldwide, both men and women, hold the hijab as an essential practice.
Mehta also falsely accused Muslim students who protested for their right to wear the hijab were not acting in response to bigotry, but were part of an organized “campaign” started by the Popular Front of India (PFI) on social media to create an agitation based on “religious feelings of the people.”
Mehta also ludicrously claimed that the hijab is not an essential religious practice based on the fact that in the few Muslim-majority countries that enforce hijab as government policy, women sometimes fight against the mandated dress code.
Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave hit back at the state, arguing, “What was the need? There is nothing brought on record to show that the circular was supported by any just reason or any justification… a series of actions in Karnataka [have] targeted the minority community in the last few years.”
Hindu extremist mob attacks and beats Muslim family in Madhya Pradesh
A Hindu extremist mob brutally attacked a Muslim family travelling through Madhya Pradesh state and filmed the incident. In the shocking video, a Muslim man named Wajid Ali was assaulted along with his mother and father by a mob Hindu extremists chanting religious slogans.
Ali was reportedly tied to a bike and dragged behind it, while his mother’s clothes were torn and his father was beaten.
Ali has stated that he was attacked due to his religion. As of yet, no police action has been reported against the Hindu supremacists.
Witness in Bilkis Bano gang-rape case fears threats to life from released convicts
A prosecution witness in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case has written to Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit expressing fear for his life and alleging threats from one of the key convicts following his release from prison.
The witness, Imtiaz Ghanchi, told Lalit that he ran into rapist and murderer Radheshyam Shah while travelling, who reportedly said, “What did you get by calling me an accused? I’m out now.”
Ghanchi has stated that there is a threat to his life and has sought “appropriate legal proceedings” against the murderer-rapists in his letter to the Chief Justice.
Shah is one of eleven Hindu men convicted for the brutal gang-rape of Bano, who was pregnant at the time, and the slaughter of her family, including her daughter. The horrific crimes happened during the 2002 Gujarat pogroms, of which Narendra Modi has been accused of facilitating.