Excerpts from the debate which followed the Samjahauti Express attacks
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Teesta Setalvad interrupted him saying that she condoled the attack and that she did not agree with B Raman. She said that we need to appreciate the utter sobriety with which the Pakistani officials have dealt with this entire issue. "In contrast to their sobriety is the utter arrogance of B Raman. Are we trying to say that as Indians, we don't have out own breed of indoor terrorism? *We have had terrorism from the Hindu right-wing activists, disrupting communal peace and hating Indo-Pak peace talks for the past 60 years. Yet the Indian establishment does not want to look at this. Till the Indian establishment recognises that terrorism can be home-grown as much as it can be imported, we will not get to the bottom of terror talks. We need to have the same openness as Pakistan has at the moment."
The Pakistani officials dealing with the issue with 'utter soberity' and 'openness'? I guess the Pakistanis do not need anyone in India to speak on their behalf. There are enought Indian citizens who will do so.
Here are some more Gems of wisdom from Teestaji.
The tragedy of this country is that with the dominance of the ideology of Hindu rashtra in public life, with proponents of it gaining power, every real issue that we need to tackle has got sidelined. Setalvad, Teesta, in her acceptance speech of Rajiv Gandhi Sadhbhavana Puraskar, 2002. August 20, 2002.
For, while there are the hapless and forgotten Kashmiri Pandits also displaced and bitterly abandoned in Jammu and Delhi camps, they have been innocent victims of foreign-bred mercenaries not home grown terror bands; terror bands who moreover speak of a narrow sense of Indian patriotism and nationhood. Teesta Setalvad in the Rajiv Gandhi Sadhbhavana Award, 2002, acceptance
speech, 20 August 2002.
Teesta Setalvad, head of Communalism Combat, a group that opposes religious extremism in India, said that "while I condemn today's gruesome attack, you cannot pick up an incident in isolation. Let us not forget the provocation. These people were not going for a benign assembly. They were indulging in blatant and unlawful mobilization to build a temple and deliberately provoke the Muslims in India."
Rama Lakshmi, "Mob Attacks Indian Train; 57 Killed", The Washington Post, February 28, 2002
Before announcing a punishment or even a trial, (Saddam Hussain's) crime should be properly established. First, he allegedly was in possession of weapons of mass destruction which were not found. Later he was reported to be a dictator and an obsessive rule, but nothing is proved. All this points against the attackers who said they did it to restore democracy in Iraq, thus destroying a hundred year old museum. This points to a huge lack of ethics, and I'm not commenting either ways, whether to release him or try him unless his crimes are established. (sic)Teesta Setalvad, Human rights activist, quoted in The Afternoon Despatch & Courier, December 16, 2003.
Whenever Communalism Combat is blamed for being 'too pro-minority' , we hold the sangh parivar and the rest of the saffron brotherhood responsible for this editorial 'tilt'. Had Hindutva not hijacked the national agenda and targeted the country's religious minorities, so much time and attention would not have been needed to defend Muslims and Christians from the vitriol, vilification and violence that is
deliberately directed at them. In fact, but for the hate mongers, this magazine itself would not have been necessary. Editorial, "Minorities within minorities", Communalism Combat, May 2001.
(Editors: Javed Anand, Teesta Setalvad).
And what is the political agenda of Teestaji. This item from
India Today says it all:
The Congress is a little less forthcoming. Slow off the mark, it joined the proxy war under the banner of Communalism Combat, a small journal run from Mumbai by journalists Javed and Teesta Setalvad. Now operating from a flat owned by a Congress MP in Marble Arch Apartments on Delhi's Prithviraj Road, Communalism Combat is acting in tandem with the AICC media cell. It has issued ads in all major publications attacking Vajpayee's leadership qualities, his links with the RSS and the BJP-RSS, lack of "respect" for women, an ad co-sponsored by women's group as
well. According to media planners, the ad campaign should have cost some Rs 75 lakh, money Teesta claims to have raised "from a wide spectrum of well-wishers including corporates, trade unions, women's group and NGOs."
India Today, Sept 13, 1999.