By Chandru Chawla

June 27 2022 saw a strong crowd of over two hundred people gather at Dadar station , Mumbai, in support of India’s finest defender of human rights. There were people from the student community and unions, farmer and worker organizations, women support organizations and ordinary citizens.

The shocking arrest of Teesta had sent a chilling message to the human rights community and the society at large. Teesta is well known as a journalist, a human rights defender, and a public intellectual. The gathering particularly expressed appreciation for her tireless work over two decades to help bring justice to the victims of the Gujarat carnage of 2002. It also expressed admiration for her work in supporting communal harmony and eradication of hate and bigotry from society, and having her platform, Sabrang, become the universal voice of the oppressed and the defenseless. It decried the implications of the recent Zakia Jafri judgment that may put all future justice seekers at the mercy of a heartless regime.

The State has given a warning “Don’t mess with us – or you will be next”. The crowd rejected this. The “freedom to claim our spaces and fight for our rights” can never be compromised. Teesta’s pain will not go in vain.

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