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In a letter addressed to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, and Chief Justice of India Justice S.H. Kapadia, the Coalition Against Genocide (CAG) on October 5 sought their urgent intervention in the case of the arrest of Mr. Sanjiv Bhatt, a distinguished IPS Officer from Gujarat, whose main crime it thinks was speaking the truth about the 2002 violence in Gujarat.
“As incumbents of the three highest offices of the Indian State, we cannot but turn to you at this moment of crisis.... We stand steadfast behind Mr. Bhatt and are committed to launching an international campaign on his behalf in the absence of corrective action by the Central Government to ensure his safety, and to bring an end to this vengeful retaliation against him,” said a statement signed by Biju Mathew, Dr. Hyder Khan and Girish Agrawal for CAG, which represents as many as 35 organisations.
The statement added: “The increasing misuse of the law to harass those on the side of truth has reached crisis proportions in India. Over the last decade the number of whistleblowers who have been put under extreme duress through the misuse of the law against them is a matter of much concern. Mr. Bhatt’s arrest is simply the most recent case, and given the truth at stake, the most egregious one. Such treatment of whistleblowers (several of whom have been killed) positions India as a gross violator of human rights from an international human rights standpoint….
“We respectfully urge you to act without delay. CAG has also decided to move forward, beginning Monday, Oct 10th, with an international human rights campaign unless the matter is seized on by the highest offices of the state. While we are bound by our ethics to stand on the side of truth and justice we sincerely hope that we will not need to launch such a campaign.”