Millennium Post

Teesta Setalvad’s twisted activism

Teesta Setalvad’s name has come to symbolise everything that is wrong with NGO activism in India.
Her global image notwithstanding, Teesta has been repeatedly exposed for having indulged in unethical acts and has cases pending against her in courts for perjury. The curious case of Zakia Jafri (whose protest petition against the SC-approved SIT clean chit to Narendra Modi was rejected on 26 December) lays bare the arrogance that activists of Setalvad’s ilk are capable of inflicting on hapless victims.

Zakia Jafri, the aged widow of Ehsaan Jafri, now finds herself in the dock for perjury. Teesta’s ex-aide Rais Khan says that the petition filed by Zakia was pre-written and false as it was originally written for Haren Pandya’s family. The latter’s family refused to sign the same for its falsehood. Zakia was taken in by Teesta’s glib talk.

Rais Khan Pathan, in his letter to the Chairman, SIT, dated 5 October 2013, submitted a CD of a recorded telephonic conversation between him and Safdar Ankaleshwaria, brother in law of Zakia Jafri, wherein Ankaleshwaria phoned Khan after Zakia Jafri’s deposition as witness no-337 in the session case  no. 152/2002 in the Designated Court at Ahmedabad.

It may be noted that in her deposition on 22 October 2010, Zakia, in para no. 17 stated, ‘I know Teesta Setalvad since last 3-4 years’, in para no.18 she stated, ‘I know only the name of Rais Khan via Teestaben Setalvad and I have never met him and only know him by his name’ and in para no. 25 she has stated, ‘Safdarbhai Ankaleshwaria is her brother-in-law’.

Khan in his above letter states that ‘after her deposition in the court, Safdar Ankaleshwaria, brother-in-law of Zakia Jafri, called me on 27 November 2010 on my cell no-98240xxxxx. I recorded the entire conversation with Ankaleshwaria due to security reasons. Safdar Ankaleshwaria admitted that Zakia Jafri knows me very well and it was me who used to take her to the courts and offices of the advocates. Ankaleshwaria also admitted that Zakia Jafri visited my office and residence on several occasions. Hence, from the recorded conversation it is proved beyond doubt that Zakia Jafri has lied on oath before the Designated Court’.

Khan demanded that ‘a thorough interrogation of Safdar Ankleshwaria will reveal the truth which is necessary for appraising the Designated Court to arrive at a just decision’. He also stated that ‘interrogation of Safdar Ankaleshwaria will also provide evidence of how false and fabricated affidavits were prepared and filed by Teesta Setalvad in various courts including payment to witnesses’.

Interestingly, Zakia Jafri, in SLP (CRL) No. 1088 of 2008, in her affidavit before the Supreme Court in Para 9 stated, ‘Rais Khan was associated with the Citizen for Justice and Peace an organisation created after the carnage in 2002 and has eminent persons from the society as its trustees. He has singularly supported the victims in their pursuit of justice and consistently followed up on the cases...’

The truth is that Teesta Setalvad is a law unto herself. She has total disregard for the rule of law or for victims. Her anti-Hindu agenda is her source of income from foreign agencies. She has taken the courts for a ride with her perjury and her acts of influencing witnesses. She has misused the lack of education and poverty of victims to file false affidavits to further her own agenda. Several innocent people rot in prison as a result of her false filings. Those who raised their voice against her have been vilified and crushed irrespective of their status as victims or Muslims. Rais Khan, her trusted lieutenant, was removed by her for questioning her illegal methods. She has threatened him directly and has also sent him threats from powerful people for speaking out against her.

Zaheera Sheikh was jailed by courts for perjury in the riots cases that were handled by Teesta’s NGO. Teesta did not own up to any kind of moral responsibility for the same. Instead she condemned Zaheera for making false affidavits. Teesta’s proximity to ex-Supreme Court Judge Justice Aftab Alam and his daughter Shahrukh Alam are well known. She has not bothered about the ethics of her alliance with them.

Teesta has approval in Islamic states where Sharia remains more or less the same since its inception. Her luck might turn now that the Congress appears to be losing on all fronts and she may soon face the law of the land for her perjury in courts and her anti-Hindu activism, since Hindus are some of the most tolerant people in this planet.

The author is the editor in chief of the Paris-based La Revue de l’Inde. The views expressed are his own
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