Press Statement :We condemn "illegal" arrest of Feroze Mithiborwala & Kishore Jagtap

We, the undersigned, note with a sense of shock and horror that last evening, at around 9.00 PM, prominent human rights and social activist from Mumbai, Mr Feroze Mithiborwala, was picked up by three police people from his residence at Marol and taken to the MIDC, Andheri(E) police station. He has been kept under detention overnight.

No reason whatever has been indicated for this official "kidnap". He was not even allowed to talk to his lawyer.

It appears that he is picked up to prevent him from holding any protest demonstration against the visiting US Secretary of State, Ms. Hillary Clinton.

One does not have to agree with Mr. Mithiborwala on his political position to denounce this grossly undemocratic act on the part of the Mumbai Police. The right to dissent, and dissent in public, is what sets a “democracy" apart from an authoritarian regime. And we never tire of claiming, and not too unjustifiably, that India is the "largest democracy" in the world.

It is precisely in that context, the action of the Mumbai Police is extremely unfortunate and utterly condemnable.

We demand that the state Home Minister immediately take note and act against the erring officials.

He should also issue a note of apology as the buck presumably stops at his door.

Feroze and Kishore Jagtap were released today around the next day at 5.45 pm without any charge.

1. Mihir Desai Lawyer
2. Yusuf Muchala Lawyer
3. Sukla Sen Ekta
4. Jatin Desai Peoples' Media Initiative
5. Zafarul Islam Khan (editor - Milli Gazette)
6. Seema Mustafa Journalist
7. Dolphy Dsouza Bombay Catholic Sabha
8. Nandita Shah Akshara
9. Sanober Keshwaar Human Rights activist
10. Lena Ganesh Social Activist
11. Jaya Velankar Writer
12. Daniel Mazgaonkar Sarvodaya Activist
13. Kamayani Mahabal Shetty Social Activist
14. K L Bajaj CPM
15. SQR Ilyas (editor - Afkar-e-Milli)
16. Bhagwan Keshbhat YUV
17. Sushovan Dhar Social Activist
18. Suvrat Raju
19. Tushar A. Gandhi Mahatma Gandhi Foundation.
20. Sanjay Singhvi (CPI-ML)
21. Asif Khan (Sahafat - Cartoonist)
22. Palash Biswas (Senior Journalist)
23. Sarfaraz Arzu (Hindustan Daily - Editor)
24. Anjali Kate Child Rights Activist
25. Sachin Godambe Maratha Seva Sangh
26. Alan Hart (author - UK)
27. John Ress (Stop The War Coalition, co-founder - UK)
28. Nadine Rossa Roso (Writer - Belgium)
29. Mary Sparrowdancer (Writer - USA)
30. Anand Swaroop Verma (Writer - Delhi)
31. Prof Rakesh Rafique (Moradabad)
32. Gopal Rai (Teesra Swadhinta Sangram - convenor)
33. Jagdish Haribhai Patel (UK)
34. Dr. Phiroz Poonawala (Philantrophist)
35. Varsha V V (Sarvodaya activist)
36. Amol Madame (Republican People of India)
37. Anand Ohade (Dalit & Trade Union Movement)
38. Jagdish Nagarkar (Phule Ambedkar Vichar Manch)
39. Mulniwasi Mala (Indian Social Movement)
40. Yogesh Kamdar (Peoples' Union for Civil Liberties)
41. Soheb Lokhandwala Movement for Peace & Justice

Hillary visit: handful of people detained for ‘questioning’

JCP K L Prasad said it was preventive action and they would be released after questioning

Even as the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was meeting dignitaries in the city on Saturday, some activists were biding their time at two local police stations after being picked up for ‘questioning’. Incidentally, Feroz Mithiborwala and Kishor Jagtap who were picked up from their houses on Friday are part of Awami Bharat, a non-profit organisation that has held several protests against ‘US imperialism’ on earlier occasions.

“We were picked up from our houses on Friday night without being given a specific reason and brought to the MIDC police station. An official told us that we had been brought owing to an intelligence input and will be here till the next day. However, on Saturday, they told us that we would be allowed to leave only on Sunday. While Clinton’s visit or security has not been mentioned to us as the reason for our detention, we sat there for very long without even knowing why,” said Mithiborwala, who claimed that the police referred to an earlier protest they participated in demanding a high-level probe into the 26/11 attacks.

Mithiborwala and Jagtap were released at about 6 pm on Saturday, “without any explanation” on their detention or release, they said. A month after 26/11 Awami Bharat had demanded a high-level probe into the deaths of Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte and alleged that “certain political forces from within our country organised this terror attack with the help of the American CIA and the Israeli MOSSAD.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 10, K M M Prasanna said that they had been picked up only for questioning. Mithiborwala’s lawyer Gayatri Singh alleged that it was illegal detention.

Another activist from Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamic revivalist movement, was detained by the V B Nagar police. “We detained Mohammed Aslam Ghazi, spokesperson for the Jamaat’s Maharashtra unit for preventive purposes as we expected him to indulge in some cognisable offence to disrupt Clinton’s visit,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone V, Milind Bharambe.

Joint Police Commissioner K L Prasad confirmed that a handful of people who were expected to create trouble during Clinton’s visit were held at a few police stations. He stressed that it was preventive action and they would be let off after questioning.


  1. I also condemn about such a bad behaviour of Mumbai police.

    i also demand that the state Home Minister immediately take note and act against the erring officials.

  2. Such a rediculus action taken by the police personal, we all respect the law and order but its not etall good.
    the state government and central government have to take strong action against these police personal because they have to justify it.

  3. I strongly condemn the ILLEGAL detention of Feroz Bhai and Kishore Bhai. Its extremly unfortunate and against the spirit of true democracy.

    Feroz Mithiborewala, Kishore Jagtap and Aslam Gazi are well known figures in Mumbai's Social Circle. If this type of injustice can happen with them, you can imagine the injustice and harassments faced by general public.

    Government of Maharashtra and specially the Home Ministry should take strong action against the involved officers.

    If this doesn’t happen, legal action should be taken.


  4. again 1 more example of the inefficiency of Mumbai police

  5. It's sad and totally ridiculous that the democracy (which of course exist on paper only) is being suppressed like this and the so called "intelligence" is picking normal aware citizen under the name of "suspicion" and illegal detaining them...

    even if they were supposed to stage a demonstration, isn't it under one of the basic fundamental right of the country bestowed to it's citizen by the mighty constitution? Is our government, police, and "intelligence" so STUPID to look over it and practicing things directly opposite to it...

    leaving predictions aside...the move by the government was utterly foolish and showed it's insecurity against it's own people...It's no better a situation where you are punished for the crime you even din't think of..on the basis of someone's else forcast..

    I not only condemn this act but also hope that the 'intelligence' actually works as it's name.

  6. "India is the biggest democracy in the world, it is a socialist democratic republic where everyone has the freedom of speech"

    Did we hear it somewhere in fables or fairy tales?
    So much for the Indian democratic system, where people are picked up without giving any valid reason allegedly for "questioning" and some of the fortunate do manage to return back home if they do not disappear.

    Well, on one side our esteemed police force has done some commendable job in times of disaster and some other occasions and then somehow they have the knack of tarnishing their image with such "regularity".

    This ILLEGAL action by the protectors of our constitution is highly condemnable by the intelligentsia and other sane thinkers of our society. It like we need to knock at the doors of the constitution and demand an explanation before the so called law-keepers come knocking at our doors for some 'action'. It seems that they just need some lame excuse and it could be anybody on their target range.

    This is nothing but blatant high-handedness shown by our esteemed police force who are one of the recognized forces in the world (one wonders in what department the law keepers world wide are competing with each other?)

    The people concerned, as far as my knowledge permits me, have never been involved in any unconstitutional activities and one wonders whether just having a political/ social view which is not inline with the government policies/views brands u as an offender or a conspirator. Or is it that the government wants to promote a society of "spineless" citizens who are going to ascribe to and approve all their anti-social policies or actions.

    At times it makes us wonder the tryst of these law-keepers where in people who create law and order problem, burn down public properties, disrupt public life and cause harm to the public go scot-free and people who voice their concerns peacefully are being targeted and harassed. Does it promote the concept that "might is right" in a democracy?

    We hold the constitution in High Esteem but it beats us to try and understand the merits of such acitons by the keepers of the constitution.

    Is this another step to please 'Big Daddy' USA, to tow on the lines they have drawn for us and to show them that we are their "obedient insignificant half".

    Needless to say, we love our Great country, our Motherland and we do love our fellow countrymen irrespective of caste, creed or religion and it really pains us to see our brothers like Kishore Bhai, Feroze Bhai and others being harassed this way. Today they are there tomorrow it could be anyone else as there were others harassed earlier as well by the Government machinery in the name of upkeep of the law.

    The public demands an explanation and the tormented deserve an apology!!!!
    Honorable Chief Minister and Home Minister are you listening???

  7. I strongly condemn this act of Mumbai police. This is totally unacceptable act in a democracy. Democracy is the name of right to dissent.

  8. As per suggestion given in above comments, Fairoz MEthiborwala, Mr Kishore Jagtap and Aslam Ghazi had taken the Legal action.

    Please read the Report Below to know more details


    "To detain Indian citizens for visiting US leaders is wrong & a matter of National Self-Respect" - High Court

    Express Newsline, Mohan Kumar, August 20, 2009

    The unjustified use of Section 151 of CrPC to detain people in the guise of potential threat, came under the scanner of Bombay High Court on Thursday.

    On a petition filed by two activists against their illegal detention during Hillary Clinton's visit, the Court made it clear that the police cannot interfere with the liberty of an Indian citizen when some American dignitary visits the country.

    The division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki & Justice A. R. Joshi on Thursday stated thatthere was a "question of Self-Respect of India as a Nation". Feroze Mithiborwala of Awami Bharat & Aslam Ghazi of Jamat-e-Islam-e-Hind had filed the petition.

    After going through Section 151, which states that that the police should know of a design to commit some offence, Justice Nazki felt that there was a need to go further into the interpretation of the Section & appointed advocate N.N. Gawankar as amicus curie to assist in the case.

    "Why should we punish our own citizens", he asked. "If an American citizen comes, our citizens is behind bars."

    The Judge said the police can detain anybody if the Court accepted their interpretation. "You can take us also," he added.

    When additional public prosecutor Dinesh Adsule argued that that the activists were detained as they were planning some demonstration, the Court retorted that this is an independent country & demonstrations are permitted in India.

    The Court later adjourned the hearing for a week.


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