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Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Tuesday demanded the withdrawal of the ‘Padma Shri’ award bestowed on social activist Teesta Setalvad, who was arrested by the Gujarat police recently in a case of fabricating evidence to frame innocent persons in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The Centre had in 2007 honoured Setalvad with the Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian awards in the country to recognise people’s contribution in various spheres. Talking to reporters on Tuesday, Mishra accused the previous Congress government of giving the award to Setalvad for the appeasement of minorities.
“She was a member of the ‘award vapsi’ gang (those threatening to return awards). The award should be taken back from people like Teesta Javed Setalvad, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s remarks against such people, whose conduct becomes questionable and have been arrested,” said the minister, who is also the state government’s spokesperson.
The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad had on Saturday picked up Setalvad from her Mumbai home. She was later taken to Ahmedabad and handed over to the crime branch there. A court in Ahmedabad on Sunday remanded Setalvad in police custody till July 2 in the case of fabricating evidence to frame innocent persons in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.
On Friday, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging the clean chit given by a special investigation team (SIT) to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and others in 2002 post-Godhra riots cases. Setalvad and her NGO were co-petitioner with Zakia Jafri (wife of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the riots) in the plea filed against Modi and others in the Supreme Court.
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