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India’s top court grants bail to activist in 2002 riots case

NEW DELHI (AP) Indias Supreme Court granted bail on Friday to a prominent human rights activist and lawyer who has spearheaded a campaign to carry officials in charge of deadly 2002 anti-Muslim riots, a lot more than 8 weeks after she was detained on allegations of fabricating evidence.

Teesta Setalvad was arrested by western Gujarat state police in June for allegedly coaching witnesses and forging documents in cases linked to the riots, where a lot more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed. She’s denied the allegations and hasnt been formally charged.

The very best courts decision came each day after it heard Setalvads petition for bail. It said there is absolutely no offense in this instance over which bail can’t be granted, and asked Setalvad to surrender her passport and cooperate with police through the investigation.

Setalvad has long campaigned for justice for victims of the riots. She’s also sought for Prime Minister Narendra Modi found complicit in the riots, though he’s got never been found guilty.

The riots have long hounded Modi due to allegations that authorities under his watch allowed and also encouraged the bloodshed. Modi, who was simply the states top elected official at that time before becoming prime minister in 2014, has denied the accusations, and the Supreme Court has said it found no evidence to prosecute him.

Rights activists and critics suspect Setalvad is facing retribution on her behalf campaign against Modi, and accuse his administration of using government agencies to intimidate her. Modis party denies that.

Setalvad was arrested on June 25, each day following the Supreme Court in another case cleared Modi of complicity in the riots after ruling that there is no evidence against him. That decision has effectively closed any more legal challenges to Modi.

Setalvad rose to prominence during her long legal campaign for Zakia Jafri, whose husband, Ehsan Jafri, was burned alive by the Hindu mobs. Ehsan Jafri, a former person in Parliament, was a prominent Muslim politician and had offered refuge to fleeing Muslims through the riots.

Jafri, now 85, has sought to determine that the riots were the consequence of a high-level conspiracy involving Modi. It had been a petition by Jafri challenging a written report by way of a special investigation team that cleared Modi of any complicity that has been dismissed by the Supreme Court in June.

Through the years, Setalvad has been investigated by various government agencies for allegedly misappropriating funds designed for riot victims. She’s denied any wrongdoing and that case is pending in court.

The shadow of the riots continues to hold over India after nearly 20 years.

Earlier this month, 11 Hindu men who was simply jailed forever for gang-raping a Muslim woman through the riots were released on suspended sentences, prompting protests by rights activists.

The survivor, who’s now in her 40s, was pregnant when she was brutally raped. Seven members of the womans family, including her 3-year-old daughter, were also killed in the violence.

The Associated Press generally doesnt identify victims of sexual assault.

Officials in Gujarat, where Modis Bharatiya Janata Party holds power, have said that the mens application for release was granted since they had completed over 14 years in jail.

Following the mens release was met with outrage, the Supreme Court the other day directed the Gujarat government to check in to the issue.

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