As opposition leaders criticised the BJP for detaining activist Teesta Setalvad and co-founder of AltNews Mohammed Zubair in separate cases, the ruling party retaliated on Tuesday by accusing the critics of being a part of a “poisonous ecosystem” in which one criminal shields another who has been caught.
Speaking at a news conference at the party’s headquarters, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia charged that the Congress supported and opposed legal decisions based on what was convenient for it. He also questioned whether the opposition party had confidence in the court system.
If the demonstrations against Zubair’s detention are linked to comparable criticism of the measures taken against Setalvad, according to Bhatia, “then it is apparent that there is a poisoned ecology,” he said. He declared, “The country has the strongest judicial system in the world, and it will carry out its duties.”
According to Bhatia, the Gujarat Police’s decision to detain Setalvad followed stern criticism from the Supreme Court for “keeping the cauldron boiling” regarding the 2002 riots and making unfounded accusations against officials and leaders. In order to ruin the political career of Narendra Modi, who was then the state’s chief minister, Bhatia claimed that Setalvad had been operating at the direction of the Congress.
“Setalvad was a tiny branch for igniting racial animosity. However, Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Congress, served as the organization’s CEO, and her major offices were there.
The recent protests by Congress leaders about Rahul Gandhi being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in the case of the National Herald were also questioned by Bhatia. Rahul Gandhi is presumed innocent until proven guilty in their eyes. But they are holding Narendra Modi to the premise that he is guilty unless proven innocent. This hypocrisy won’t be accepted, he declared.
Bhatia asserts that “everyone is treated fairly” and that the law has begun to take its course.
Mohammed Zubair’s arrest, in P B Mehta’s opinion, is an abuse of justice
In an attack on Setalvad, Bhatia said that while she solicited funds “in the name of fighting for justice” for riot victims, her true motivation was to “just harm Modi’s reputation.” He accused Setalvad’s NGO, which is under investigation for allegedly breaking FCRA rules, of a number of irregularities in the money it had collected.
Bhatia responded to inquiries regarding Zubair’s detention during the news conference, which focused on the demonstrations against Setalvad’s arrest, by saying that “one cannot become a fact-checker merely by announcing himself to be one.”
He called Zubair’s background “chequered” and charged that he had tweeted statements that “hurt the religious emotions of a significant portion of Hindu society.”
Zubair was criticised by Bhatia, who asserted that “if someone is doing a fact-check, then he can’t be selective.” He asserted that he is not objective if he publishes anything that supports a particular political party or group of people.