Former Gujarat DGP R B Sreekumar on Monday attacked Chief Minister Narendra Modi over the arrest of IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, claiming “Modi-phobia” had gripped police and bureaucracy in the State and the step was aimed at scaring all those who dared to oppose the BJP leader.

Flanked by film-maker Mahesh Bhatt and activist Shabnam Hashmi at a press conference here, Mr. Sreekumar, who had in the past alleged that he was “victimised for exposing Modi government’s role” in post-Godhra riots in 2002, said for “maintaining Modi-phobia arresting a whistle-blower is inevitable.”

Mr. Sreekumar was the Additional DGP (State Intelligence Bureau) at the time of Godhra train carnage and also during the initial phase of the communal riots that followed.

“This is very dangerous thing. This imposition of section 194 (against Sanjeev Bhatt) because it means that if a person is convicted he can be imposed with death penalty,” he said.

Describing slain former Gujarat minister Haren Pandya as the “first whistle blower about Mr. Modi’s role in Gujarat riots”, Mr. Sreekumar alleged that all those who dared go against Mr. Modi were victimised.

“The first victim was myself,” said Mr. Sreekumar who was superseded when he was an ADG by the Modi Government.

“When I was the ADG Intelligence, any information related to the role of Sangh Parivar was suppressed,” Mr. Sreekumar claimed.

He hit out at Mr. Modi saying that “electoral victory is not the license to violate constitution.”

Mr. Modi follows a policy of “’sadbhavna’ towards psychophants and ‘Dushbhavna’ towards honest and brave officers,” Mr. Sreekumar alleged.

Mr. Bhatt also echoed Mr. Sreekumar’s statements saying, “Fascism was alive and kicking in the land of Mahatma. The eliminationist campaign of the BJP should be opposed.”

Ms. Hashmi said that activists had held demonstrations in over 40 cities across the country against the Modi Government’s act while also urging the Centre to step in.

“UPA II has failed to safeguard the interests of the whistle blowers. We are tired of the Prime Minister saying that we don’t want to be vindictive,” Ms. Hashmi said.

Mr. Sanjeev Bhatt was arrested on Friday on the basis of the FIR filed against him by police constable K D Pant for allegedly threatening him and forcing to sign a false affidavit with regard to a meeting called by Mr. Modi on February 27, 2002, hours after the Godhra train carnage.