India on Wednesday, 29 June, slammed the remarks of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights against the arrest of activist-journalist Teesta Setalvad as "unwarranted" and an "interference" in the country's judicial framework.
The UN Human Rights office had expressed concern on Tuesday over Setalvad's arrest. In a tweet it wrote, "We are very concerned by the arrest and detention of Teesta Setalvad 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 Gujarat riots."
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Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that the remarks regarding the "legal action" against Setalvad and two other persons are "completely unwarranted and constitute an interference in India's independent judicial system."
He also said that Indian authorities take steps against violations of law on the basis of established judicial procedures.
"Labelling such legal actions as persecution for activism is misleading and unacceptable," the spokesperson added.
Earlier, Mary Lawlor, the UN's special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, had taken to Twitter on Sunday to condemn the action against Setalvad.
"Teesta is a strong voice against hatred and discrimination. Defending human rights is not a crime. I call for her release and an end to persecution by Indian state," she had said in a tweet.
A court in Gujarat's Ahmedabad had remanded Setalvad in police custody till 2 July on the alleged charge of "fabricating evidence" and attempting to frame innocent persons with regard to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The two other people who have been charged along with her in connection with the case are former state director general of police RB Sreekumar and former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who is currently serving a life sentence in a case related to a custodial death.