Javed Anand is an Indian journalist and a human rights activist. He is best known for being the husband of the famous civil rights activist, Teesta Setalvad.
Javed Anand was born in 1950 (age 72 years; as of 2022) in Mumbai. In 1971, Javed Anand earned his BTech degree in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay.
Javed Anand belongs to a conservative Muslim family.
Parents & Siblings
Not much information is available about his parents or siblings.
Wife & Children
His wife, Teesta Setalvad, is a renowned journalist and a defender of human rights. The couple got married to each other in 1987.
He has a son named Jibran Anand.
His daughter, Tamara Anand, is a photographer.
Javed Anand knew Teesta Setalvad since 1983. They met each other for the first time when Teesta began working at The Daily in 1983.
Javed Anand considers himself to be a secular and a progressive Muslim.
He resides at Nirant, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Santacruz West, Mumbai, Maharashtra – 400049.
An established journalist
In 1971, Javed Anand entered the field of journalism by working for a Mumbai-based newspaper, The Daily. He got a major break in his career when he was tasked to cover the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The coverage of the event earned him appreciation from many veteran journalists. In 1988, Javed Anand collected signatures of 300 renowned journalists on his petition, asking the then CM of Maharashtra to take action against Shiv Sena’s chief Bal Thackeray for threatening the Sikhs with a complete economical boycott. While giving an interview, Javed Anand said,
I remember in 1988, when Bal Thackeray had called a press conference where he had issued Sikhs an ultimatum and threatened them with an economic boycott, we had collected 300 signatures of journalists asking the government to take legal action against him. Thackeray had then dared the CM to act. Soon after, I had to interview S B Chavan, who was then the CM, and I asked him what happened to the action he had promised. He replied that he had been advised it would be counter-productive.
In 1992, after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, massive riots broke out in India. Javed Anand and his wife, Teesta Setalvad, decided to quit their jobs as journalists, and start their own periodical news magazine titled Combat Communalism.
In 1996, the magazine went through a rough time as the couple ran short of finances to continue with the printing of the magazine. Telling about the incident, Javed Anand said,
At one time, between July 1995 and February 1996, we had run out of money and I thought we would have to close down the magazine. Teesta said, What nonsense. We’ll sell my jewellery if we have to!”
In 1999, to sustain the functioning of Communalism Combat, Javed and Teesta decided to publish campaigning ads for Congress, CPI, and CPI-M. Agitated by this, the BJP filed a petition against the magazine with the Election Commission of India, accusing the magazine of violating the electoral Model Code of Conduct (MCC). The ECI dismissed the case and ruled in favour of the magazine. While giving an interview, Javed claimed,
At election time when there is heightened political consciousness when people are looking for news, trying to evaluate, at that time to come out with a campaign against the Sangh Parivar made an impact. This is evident from their own reactions to the ads. They were dead scared. They complained to the Election Commission that we are spreading falsehood and misleading people so action should be taken against us under a variety of clauses and sub-clauses. The Election Commission ignored them.”
In the same year, Javed Anand along with his wife, Teesta Setalvad, co-founded another news media agency named Sabrang Communications.
In 1998, the agency published its most famous article titled Damning Verdict: Report of the Srikrishna Commission. The article was based on the 1992-93 Mumbai riots and the 1993 Mumbai bomb blast cases. In 2000, Sabrang published another article titled Saffron on the rampage: Gujarat’s Muslims pay for the Lashkar’s deeds. The article was based on the communal riots that took place in Gujarat in the year 2000. In 2002, Sabrang and South Asia Citizens Web (SACW), jointly, published a report titled The Foreign Exchange of Hate: IDRF and the American Funding of Hindutva. In the report, they discussed the money that was being siphoned off by an NGO named India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) to the Sangh Parivar. Javed Anand also writes content for several well-known mainstream media houses as a columnist. Through his columns, he often writes about safeguarding democracy and the liberalisation of Islam. On 19 November 2009, Javed Anand wrote an article, A conditional charity, for The Indian Express. Through his article, he criticized a UK-based Muslim Welfare charity for giving donations to only those Muslims who supported the implementation of the Sharia law. In 2011, Javed wrote another article for the Deccan Chronicles. In his column, The Jamaatis’ new robes, he criticized the rapid increase in the total number of Muslim parties in India. In his column, Javed wrote,
Ideologically speaking, it means secularism by daylight, Sharia after dark. Politically speaking, at best they’ll cancel each other out; eat into the votes of mainstream parties that swear by secularism. At worst, they’ll provide propaganda fodder to Hindutva, feed Islamophobia.”
Working for the civil rights
Javed Anand entered the world of social activism while he was studying at IIT Bombay. As a social activist, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he often participated in the peace movements in India which were aimed at bringing an end to the hostilities between US and Vietnam. While giving an interview, Javed Anand stated,
In the late 1960s and early 70s, the students’ movement was very big, with protests against the United States’ role in Vietnam. I ended up joining a social action group.”
In 1971, soon after completing his graduation, Javed Anand joined a social group named Front for Rapid Economic Development of India. The aim of the group was to fight for the provisioning of basic civic rights to the deprived class of the society. The organisation was established by a group of ex-IITians. In 2002, Javed Anand co-founded a civil rights NGO, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), with his wife, Teesta Setalvad.
The couple started their NGO in collaboration with famous personalities from different fields such as Father Cedric Prakash (a catholic priest), Anil Dharker (a journalist), Alyque Padamsee, Javed Akhtar (music composer), Vijay Tendulkar, and Rahul Bose (actor). The organisation was established in response to the 2002 Gujarat Riots. The main aim of the organisation is to fight for providing speedy justice to the victims of the 2002 riots. The NGO, in 2002, filed several litigations against the accused individuals, including the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi. On 10 June 2002, Teesta Setalvad stood before the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and testified against the alleged role of the then Chief Minister of Gujarat in the 2002 Gujarat Riots. As a result of this, the United States banned the entry of Narendra Modi into the US. The ban was lifted by the US in 2014 after Narendra Modi became the 14th Prime Minister of India. In 2013, responding to the PIL filed by the NGO, the Supreme Court decided to conduct a fresh series of investigations on those accused of playing a part in the Gujarat riots. The NGO registered another victory in 2013 when the Supreme Court ruled in the favour of the NGO to move the “Best Bakery Case” to the Bombay High Court. Although, by the beginning of 2014, all the petitions filed by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) were dismissed by all the courts of law including the Supreme Court. Through the NGO, Javed and Teesta staunchly advocate for Dalits, Muslims and oppressed women.
Working with Zakia Jafri
In 2002, after the Gujarat riots, Zakia Jafri and the CJP jointly filed a petition in the Supreme Court in which they accused the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi of asking the Gujarat police not to take any sort of action against the rioters, allowing them to “vent their anger out.” The petition listed a series of 21 accusations levied against Narendra Modi such as allowing the parading of dead bodies of the Hindus to instigate the masses, allowing the cabinet ministers to control the Gujarat police’s control room, appointing the VHP members as public prosecutors, and many more. On 27 April 2009, the Supreme Court of India established a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the chairmanship of R. K. Raghavan. The SIT was tasked with investigating a total of nine incidents during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The report was submitted to the Supreme Court by the SIT on 14 May 2010. The Supreme Court, reacting to a petition filed by CJP after the SIT had submitted its report, ordered the SIT to conduct another extensive investigation into the matter. The final report was submitted to the Supreme Court by the SIT on 5 May 2011. The Supreme Court then appointed Raju Ramachandran as its amicus curiae (advisor to the court) who observed that the report filed by the SIT had a lot of discrepancies in it. Raju Ramachandran stated that Sanjiv Bhatt, who was an IPS officer in Gujarat in 2002, was present at CM Modi’s meeting, where he was instructed not to do anything about the riots, to “teach the Muslims a lesson.” The SIT did not agree with the findings of the amicus curiae and filed a closure report on 8 February 2012. On 10 April 2012, upon finding no conclusive evidence against Narendra Modi and other accused, the Supreme Court acquitted all of the accused. On 15 April 2013, Zakia Jafri and CJP filed a protest petition against the decision of the Supreme Court and demanded that the pieces of evidence submitted by the SIT to the Supreme Court, must be handed over to the petitioners for examination. Protesting against the petition, the SIT in its official statement stated,
Teesta Setalvad and others have falsified the complaint targeting the chief minister who had never said that go and kill people. Their lawyer further submitted that the so-called incident of Chief Minister (Narendra Modi) giving instructions (in the meeting) to high-level police officers not to take action against the rioters is a sole creation of Teesta Setalvad. There is no evidence of the same and that Setalvad was not present during the incident.”
Presenting false claims in the court
Javed Anand’s NGO, CJP, was accused of coming up with exaggerated and false stories about the Gujarat riots. In 2009, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) stated that the NGO came up with a botched story of a pregnant Muslim woman, Kausar Bano, who was gang-raped by a group of men, who after assaulting her, forcefully removed her uterus with the help of a sharp-edged weapon. The investigations conducted by the SIT found that the claims were severely exaggerated by the NGO. The SIT noted that Kausar Bano was indeed a pregnant woman who was killed in the riots but not by being gang-raped and having her uterus gouged out. In a statement given by the Supreme Court, it stated,
The protagonists of the quest for justice are sitting in a comfortable environment in their air-conditioned office may succeed in connecting failures of the state administration at different levels during such a horrendous situation, little knowing or even referring to the ground realities and the continual effort put in by the duty holders in controlling the spontaneous evolving situation unfolding aftermath mass violence across the state.”
Embezzling funds collected from Gulbarg society
In 2013, Javed’s NGO was accused of falsely collecting money from the Gulbarg Society, a society which was attacked primarily during the Gujarat riots in 2002, in the name of helping the victims of the riots. A letter, accusing Javed and Teesta of using the funds for her gains, was written and duly signed by 12 residents of the society to the Gujarat police. It was also alleged that the money was taken for the construction of a museum, dedicated to the victims of the riots. On 13 March 2013, the residents of the Gulbarg Society, including the Secretary of the society, wrote to the Joint Commissioner of the Crime Branch clarifying that the letter with the society’s letterhead on it was falsely written and dispatched to the police by some miscreants. The NGO, CJP, also clarified that the organisation has not collected any amount of money from the residents of the Gulbarg Society. It further stated that the money collected for the construction of a museum was raised with the help of other national and international sources, and the NGO had amassed a total of Rs 4,60,285. It further stated that the NGO could not construct the museum for the people because of the fluctuating price of the land upon which the museum is to be made.
Accepting illegal donations
According to the constitution of India, an NGO can only accept donations from a foreign company or an organisation only if the NGO is registered with the Government of India under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA). From 2004 to 2014, before being enlisted in the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, Javed Anand’s NGOs named CJP and Sabrang Communications received a hefty amount of $ 290,000 from the Ford Foundation, an organisation which was put under the Gujarat government’s watch list for interfering in the internal matters of the state and India. As a result of this, the Government of India cancelled the license of Javed Anand’s NGO in 2016. While issuing an official statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stated,
Prima facie violations of various provisions of FCRA were noticed. An on-site inspection or a raid was conducted of books and accounts and records from 9-11 June 2015 at its Juhu Tara office. On 9 September FCRA registration was suspended and issued a show cause notice to Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Aanand. They were given a personal hearing on 11 April 2016. On 16 June, the registration was cancelled with the government with immediate effect.”
Mixing religion with politics
Khoj is an NGO which is run by Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand. The NGO runs with the aim of providing education to the poor and the needy. On 31 March 2018, a close associate of Teesta and Javed, Raees Khan Pathan, lodged an FIR against the couple for preaching hatred through their NGO by “mixing religion with politics.” Raees Khan Pathan further accused the duo of embezzling Rs 1.4 crore, which was granted to the NGO by the Government of India under the National Policy on Education scheme between 2008 to 2014. An FIR under the sections 153A and 153B of the IPC was registered against Teesta and Javed. The couple was granted anticipatory bail by the Gujarat High Court in 2019.
Javed Anand owns a bungalow named Nirant in Mumbai at Juhu Road. It is claimed by several sources that his bungalow is almost thrice as big as Amitabh Bachchan’s bungalow named Jalsa. The total value of the Bungalow is between Rs 400 to Rs 600 crore. The bungalow also has a lawn that spreads over 3 acres of land.
- In 1998, Javed Anand with the help of his wife, Teesta Setalvad, published a report titled Saffron Army Targets People of the Cross, which talked about the forced conversion of Christians to Hinduism, with the assistance of the state.
- In 2003, Javed Anand was made the General Secretary and the convener of the Muslims for Secular Democracy.
- In 2008, Javed Anand criticised the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) by calling it a militant organisation which is completely against the idea of a democratic India.
- Javed Anand is against the notion of wearing a hijab in schools and colleges. On 18 February 2022, Javed wrote an article, What is at stake in the hijab issue, for The Indian Express. In an interview, he once said,
I do not know from where did wearing the hijab became mandatory. A school or a university has some rules, to wear a prescribed uniform. I have no problems in girls wearing hijab at home or in general public area. That is their choice but I do not remember my mother or my grandmother wearing a hijab while going out in the public.”
- In 2022, after the arrest of his wife, Teesta, the Home Minister of India, Amit Shah, criticized Javed Anand’s NGO, CJP, for peddling lies in the name of justice against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While giving an interview, Amit Shah said,
I have already read the judgement very carefully. The judgement clearly mentions the name of Teesta Setalvad. The NGO that was run being run by her – I do not remember the name of the NGO- had given baseless information about the riots to the police.”