"We, the undersigned, express our profound dismay and disquiet at the continued official harassment of human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand by the Central government," said a statement signed by rights activists from Gujarat, including former Gujarat Chief Minister Suresh Mehta.

"After the BJP-led government was installed in Delhi in May 2014, the country has witnessed open official efforts to foist a large variety of charges of financial irregularities on them, in order to harass them, tarnish their reputations and to secure their arrests," the statement said.

"Fortunately, interventions by the higher judiciary have protected them so far. However, the latest raids by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on their home and offices in Mumbai on July 14, 2015 are signs of continuing open misuse of official bodies to harass these human rights defenders," the statement said.

On July 14, the CBI searched four places in Mumbai, including the premises of Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand as well as the office of her firm, Sabrang Communications and Publishing.

On July 8, the CBI had registered a case against all of them under sections of the Indian Penal Code, which are related to criminal conspiracy (Section 120-B) along with provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 and the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 1976.

"It is well known that Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand fought an unrelenting battle not only to bring criminals who committed gruesome hate crimes against Muslims during the 2002 carnage...," the statement said.

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