After the initial hullabaloo over ‘Singham’ Sanjiv Bhatt, the disgraced IPS officer who, much to the delight of the Gujarat riots industry, “took on” Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, it took little time for the people of the country to realize how the Congress was enabling his so-called rebellion. Stories of Gujarat Congress gifting a Blackberry and other goodies to Bhatt are well-etched in people’s minds.
What wasn’t known with sufficient certainty so far is the Congress party’s unholy nexus with the chieftains of the riots industry: Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand. Zakia Jafri, wife of the late Congress MP Ehsan Jafri and complainant in the case against Modi and 61 others, is expected to have Congress leanings. Little surprise there.
What squarely exposes the fact that Setalvad and Anand’s activism owes itself predominantly to Congress patronage is an interview doing rounds on the social media. That interview, available only in Web archives on the internet, is a revelation.
Setalvad and Anand reportedly started a magazine, Communalism Combat, dedicated solely to opposing the rise of the Sangh Parivar in the political arena. As per the interview (linked above), the magazine was launched in 1999, the year of Lok Sabha elections where Congress and other parties foresaw the re-election of the BJP as the single largest party.
In answering a question as to who approached whom, Setalvad and Anand confess that they approached the Congress as well as other parties “opposed to the BJP ideology.” The reason they quote is pretty bizarre. They feared that BJP was trying to communalise the armed forces post-Kargil by–believe it or not–“sending rakhis to soldiers” among other things! They also go on to state instances of what they believe was “saffronisation” and “communalisation” of the polity.
During the course of the interview, they declared that the Congress and other Left parties/individuals funded their ad campaign of approximately ₹ 1.5 crores. To justify joining hands with the Congress, they then say that our rationale for linking with the Congress and others is to “politically isolate the BJP.”
The obsession of the duo with carrying out the Congress party’s political agenda and isolating the BJP really reached the nadir when they didn’t even spare the victims of the 2002 post-Godhra riots with their manipulation and deceit. A report titled “The Godhra Riots: Sifting Fact from Fiction” by Nicole Elfi is a solid collection of facts about Setalvad’s dubious acts. Here are a few from that report:
- A host of riot victims were misled into signing affidavits giving false information for which they received various amounts up to ₹ 1,00,000 from Setalvad’s Citizens for Justice and Peace. Demand drafts were reportedly handed out at a function in Ahmedabad by CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat, Setalvad and her former aide Rais Khan who has since had a fallout due to Setalvad’s threatening behavior.
- This was also confirmed by the Supreme Court appointed SIT which found that all affidavits of 22 witnesses were drafted, typed and printed from the same computer. Upon questioning those who signed the affidavits, the SIT learnt that they were not even aware of the incidents. In SIT’s words, Setalvad “added morbidity” to the post-Godhra riots by “cooking up macabre tales of killings.”
- Setalvad’s actions vis-à-vis Zaheera Sheikh, that is, how Sheikh managed to flee from her confinement by Setalvad and how she recanted her confessions are well-known by now.
Setalvad’s unholy nexus with the retired DGP, R B Sreekumar, is also well-known. What has however, come to light recently is Sreekumar’s conversation with Rais Khan and the fallout thereafter which throws new light on how Teesta may well be using radical Muslim groups/individuals to threaten people like Khan. In a letter to the Ahmedabad Commissioner of Police, Rais Khan has explained this nexus in detail.
The final picture that emerges when we look at the totality of Teesta’s actions and behavior is that it leaves little room for doubt that she and her organisation are an extension of the dirty tricks department of the Congress party. Distort the truth, have people perjure themselves, coerce and threaten them – all of this to nail one man who is BJP’s best hope to regain power.
I must state here that it is not a crime to take money or other support from Congress to run a magazine. However, in the interests of accuracy and transparency, Teesta Setalvad might as well affix the name of one of the Gandhis before her magazine and her NGO.