India on Wednesday dismissed as "completely unwarranted" the remarks by the UN Human Rights office over the arrest of social activist Teesta Setalvad and said these comments "constitute an interference" in the country's independent judicial system.
The UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has voiced concern over the arrest and detention of social activist Setalvad and called for her immediate release.
"#India: We are very concerned by the arrest and detention of #WHRD @TeestaSetalvad and two ex-police officers and call for their immediate release. They must not be persecuted for their activism and solidarity with the victims of the 2002 #GujaratRiots," the UN Human Rights office said in a tweet on Tuesday.
🇮🇳#India: We are very concerned by the arrest and detention of #WHRD @TeestaSetalvad and two ex police officers and call for their immediate release. They must not be persecuted for their activism and solidarity with the victims of the 2002 #GujaratRiots.— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) June 28, 2022
Responding to media queries on the remarks, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "We have seen a comment by OHCHR regarding legal action against Teesta Setalvad and two other persons."
"The remarks by OHCHR are completely unwarranted and constitute an interference in India's independent judicial system," he said.
Authorities in India act against violations of law strictly in accordance with established judicial processes, Bagchi asserted.
"Labelling such legal actions as persecution for activism is misleading and unacceptable," he said.
A court in Ahmedabad on Sunday remanded Setalvad and former state director general of police RB Sreekumar in police custody till July 2 in a case of fabricating evidence to frame innocent persons in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots. Former IPS officer and accused Sanjiv Bhatt, who is serving a life sentence in a custodial death case and is lodged in a jail in Palanpur in Banaskantha district, will be brought to Ahmedabad on a transfer warrant.
Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt are accused of abusing the process of law by conspiring to fabricate evidence with an attempt to frame innocent people for an offence punishable with capital punishment in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.