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Updated: April 23, 2011 02:29 IST

Gujarat police officer implicates Modi in riots

    Manas Dasgupta
    J. Venkatesan
Comment (12)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Arsonists take to the streets of Ahmedabad during the post-Godhra riots on February 28, 2002. A senior Gujarat police officer has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court to record “his version of truth” about the violence.
Arsonists take to the streets of Ahmedabad during the post-Godhra riots on February 28, 2002. A senior Gujarat police officer has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court to record “his version of truth” about the violence.

"He told us to let rioters ‘teach a lesson' to Muslims"

A senior Gujarat cadre police officer, Sanjiv Rajendra Bhatt, has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that Chief Minister Narendra Modi directed top police officers on the eve of the 2002 pogrom to “allow the Hindus to vent their anger” and “teach a lesson” to Muslims following the Sabarmati Express carnage in which Hindu passengers died.

Mr. Bhatt also accused the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team of trying to “cover up the larger conspiracy and official orchestration” behind the riots.

The 1988 batch IPS officer, now principal of the State Reserve Police Training College, Junagadh, said that he was present at the high-level meeting convened by the Chief Minister on the night of the Godhra incident on February 27, 2002, in his capacity as Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence in the State Intelligence Bureau, Gandhinagar, the post he held from December 1999 to September, 2002.

He said he was told by the State control room about the meeting convened by Mr. Modi and instructed to remain present there with the then Director-General of Police, K. Chakravarthi. He surmised that he was asked to attend the meeting because his boss, the then Additional Director-General of Police, Intelligence, G. C. Raigar, was on leave that day.

According to Mr. Bhatt, whose testimony had been recorded by the SIT probing a complaint by Zakia Jaffrey, wife of a slain former Congress MP, “Mr. Narendra Modi said [at the February 27 meeting] that the bandh call had already been given, and the party [the BJP] had decided to support the same, as incidents like the burning of kar sevaks at Godhra could not be tolerated. He further impressed upon the gathering that for too long, the Gujarat police had been following the principle of balancing the actions against the Hindus and Muslims while dealing with communal riots. This time, the situation warranted that the Muslims be taught a lesson to ensure that such incidents do not recur ever again. The Chief Minister, Mr. Modi, expressed the view that the emotions were running very high amongst the Hindus, and it was imperative that they be allowed to vent out their anger,” the affidavit states.

Mr. Bhatt said he had given an account of the meeting in his depositions before the SIT. He claimed that at the conclusion of the February 27, 2002 meeting, the officials present tried to tell Mr Modi that his decision to bring the bodies of the kar sevaks burnt in the Godhra train carnage to Ahmedabad in the light of the “Gujarat Bandh” called by the VHP and backed by the ruling BJP could cause widespread communal riots across the State, and that the police neither had the manpower nor resources to deal with such a situation.

Mr. Modi, however, was unrelenting and told the police officers that an incident like burning the kar sevaks could not be tolerated and that the Muslims had to “be taught a lesson.”

Mr. Bhatt said the effects of Mr. Modi's “directions” widely manifested in the “half-hearted approach and lack of determination” on the part of the police in dealing with the “widespread incidents and orchestrated violence” during the “state-sponsored bandh” and the days that followed.

Mr. Bhatt said that during his interactions with the SIT in November 2009 and subsequent meetings, he provided its investigators with all the details, but the SIT was disinclined to follow up on important leads. He also alleged that the SIT had chosen to coerce certain witnesses into refraining from stating the true facts. He said the special investigators appeared reluctant to examine the existence of any larger conspiracy or official orchestration behind the Gujarat riots and urged the Supreme Court to direct them to ensure that the investigation was carried out in all aspects.

The case, in which Ms. Jaffrey has asked that an FIR be registered against Mr. Modi, comes up for hearing on April 27.

The continuing verbal tirades have become deafening and so self defeating. It is now time to sit back and see if the better alternative is to allow justice to function silently and help bring closure to all those who have suffered. We have been served all the gut wrenching details of every riot and that has been for sixty five years. The negativity that it has generated in our minds is indescribable. Hate and the 'other' syndrome stand deeply entrenched in minds and to eradicate it is a tall order. In my mature eighty years, I have never felt more saddened. Now may be is the time for all of us to stand up and say it's time to cull out a page from Nelson Mandela's life and draw upon his inspirational strategy of TRUTH and RECONCILIATION and let the country move forward so that we bequeath to our children what is rightfully theirs. A positive India. We only inherited it, never owned it.

from:  Leela Krishnaswamy
Posted on: Oct 23, 2011 at 13:15 IST

Mr.Modi is being targetted by so called media.Mr. Bhat is colluding with Congress and try to defame Gujart and Mr.Modi.

from:  aravindh
Posted on: Oct 23, 2011 at 12:58 IST

Let us assume Mr. Modi was not behind this. But what was the reason the entire police of Gujarat took a half-hearted approach in curbing the aggressors or violence ?

from:  S Patel
Posted on: Oct 23, 2011 at 09:18 IST

When you find that the allegations of the kind made by IPS officer Bhatt are made again and again, what is the change in attitude that one can expect either from Congress or BJP? There are many people in the RSS pariwar who believe that taking life of another person is perfectly justifiable if such a thing is done for a national cause. What is a national cause is of course a debatable issue and it is this attitudinal aspect that I say is behind the strong defence of what Narendra Modi has done or not done during the Gujarat riots of 2002. If you are having the RSS pariwar attitude, you would always defend Modi and those who do not have such an attitude would find it difficult to so defend.

from:  Narendra M Apte
Posted on: Apr 23, 2011 at 16:36 IST

This officer is playing politics and media is giving undue prominence to his utterings. He has already given his version to the SIT and SIT has already submitted its report to the Supreme Court. SIT was appointed by the Supreme Court. Than he is shouting about what? and why the media is giving such prominence to his repeatition?

from:  R. Pandya
Posted on: Apr 23, 2011 at 16:06 IST

Of course, the Modi supporters will think the police officer's statement as a smear campaign. Time and again, evidences that point the Gujarat CM to have involved in the massacre of Muslims is thrown under the carpet. Every person in this country believes in judiciary system. If the judicial system is lethargic, then only God can help. Modi wants to "teach a lesson" to Muslims? I wonder what was the "lesson", what Muslims had learnt from that "lesson" and what are the implications of that "lesson"? Only the "teacher" must be knowing it better.

from:  Roeas
Posted on: Apr 23, 2011 at 13:34 IST

If Mr.Modi, after the Sabarmati Express carnage in which Hindu passengers died, had told police officers to “allow the Hindus to vent their anger” and “teach a lesson” to Muslims, is it tantamount to his allowing killing of Muslims by Hindus. May be what Mr.Modi meant was that Hindus should be allowed to take to the streets and agitate. What the police officer has said in his affidavit should definitely be investigated. But let us not hastily jump to the conclusion that Mr.Modi was asking the police to allow violence by the Hindu crowds. By the way, this writer is not a political suppoprter of Mr.Modi or his party, the BJP.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Apr 23, 2011 at 13:16 IST

It is unfortunate that at most of the time guilty in this country enjoy powers and innocents are punished for no fault. Judiciary takes too much time to decide and when the decision comes it is too late.

from:  Asghar Ali
Posted on: Apr 23, 2011 at 08:32 IST

Now this is a serious charge that the SIT is not investigating the case properly.After many years,it is due to the S.C that a proper investigation into the matter was started and the S.C would do well to bring it back on track if there is any inkling of truth in the allegations made against SIT.

from:  Prashant
Posted on: Apr 23, 2011 at 05:32 IST

This is crime against humanity! He should be punished severly in Indian and International courts. Modi should be declared as 'Enemy against humanity' by Supreme Court and United Nation Human Rights Commission for what he has done in a very responsible position in which its first and basic duty is to provide SECURITY to people of his state.

from:  Mohamed Rafik
Posted on: Apr 23, 2011 at 03:27 IST

What was Mr. Bhatt doing so long ?? Another smear campaign against Mr. Modi. Won't work.

from:  Arun
Posted on: Apr 23, 2011 at 03:26 IST

If Modi is found guilty he must pay the cost and for that any politician must be punished. It is also true that this police officer should also be arrested for his inactions and hiding the truth till SIT approached him. What if there was no SIT? If you as high ranking police officer do not do your duty why to be paid? You were suppose to save lives but you did not. Sanjeev Bhatt doesn't sound to be as honest as he claims.

from:  Pankaj
Posted on: Apr 23, 2011 at 03:21 IST
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