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The Narendra Modi led Indian government cancelled on Thursday the registration of Sabrang Trust run by social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand. Teesta and her NGOs are on the forefront of civil society campaign against the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, in which over 1000 muslims were massacred. She was active in bringing to justice many Sangh Parivar activists who were involved in the massacre.

It is well-known that Teesta Setlavad and Javed Anand have fought also to expose the role of the Gujarat government in enabling, abetting and even organising these crimes. They have been fearless in charging the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently the country’s Prime Minister, with direct criminal culpability for these crimes. For this they have assisted the widow of a former MP who was slaughtered in the carnage Zakia Jafri to fight a brave court battle in which the first accused is the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. They are also appealing against court orders to free on bail prominent political leaders of the BJP convicted of the worst massacre in Naroda Patiya, Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi.

On 14 July 2015 CBI conducted a raid at the premises of Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand, Gulam Mohammed Peshimam and office of Sabrang Communications and Publishing in Mumbai alleging that they misuse of funds received for CJP for her publishing house. These raids are undertaken for purely vindictive reasons given the assurances of complete cooperation and submission of thousands of pages of documents to the CBI. It is by now an open secret that activists working for justice and truth with regard to the pogrom called ‘Gujarat Riots’ have earned the hatred and animosity of the Modi government; which does not hesitate to employ official state power to indulge in a witch-hunt.

Setalvad and Anand set up Sabrang Communications and began publishing Communalism Combat in 1993, and not after 2002. It was this company that published the Justice Srikrishna Commission Report on the Mumbai communal riots of 1992-1993 at a time when the state government would not make it available to the public. The state not only fails in its constitutional duty to protect all citizens from unlawful deprivation of life and liberty under Article 21, but hounds and intimidates all those who seek to uphold human rights and democratic values.

Javed Anand who is Secretary/Chief Functionary of Sabrang Trust said in a press Press Statement:

Today’s order of the Union Home Ministry cancelling the FCRA registration of Sabrang Trust brings no surprise to its Trustees.

In their earlier communications with the Home Ministry, the Trustees had responded to the alleged FCRA violations point-by-point, para-by-para, pointing out how the allegations showed a complete non-application of mind.

That the cancellation order was imminent was apparent from the mere show of a personal hearing granted to Sabrang Trust on April 11, 2016. The hearing was over in less than 10 minutes.

The Trustees regret to note that today’s order of the Home Ministry is simply a mechanical reiteration of the very same allegations made earlier, in total disregard to the detailed and reasoned explanations and arguments put forward by the Trust.

Based on the very same documents and records we provided to the FCRA team during their inspection of accounts in April 2016, from its ‘Observations’ (June 2015) to the ‘show cause notice’ suspending FCRA registration (Sept 2015), to the cancellation of the same now, the MHA has progressively embellished some of the allegations to insinuate utilisation of trust funds for personal benefit. We will of course be challenging the same.

Sabrang Trust will actively explore all legal options to challenge the Home Ministry’s order cancelling its FCRA registration

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