United States Embassy in India seeks advice on in evaluating information on a IPS candidate said to be involved in Nadigram firing, who has been nominated to pursue a training
158305, 6/16/2008 11:59,08 NEWDELHI 1645, Embassy New Delhi, CONFIDENTIAL, 08REF7KOLKATA88, "VZCZCXRO0257OO RUEHCIDE RUEHNE #1645 1681159ZNY CCCCC ZZHO 161159Z JUN 08FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHITO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2203INFO RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 2358","C O N F I D E N T I A L NEW DELHI 001645 SIPDIS STATE FOR SCA - JOSEPH BRENNIG
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/17/2018
TAGS: PHUM, PGOV, MARR, MASS, IN
SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VETTING FOR US SPONSORED TRAINING: IG RAJ KANOJIA
REF: REF 07 KOLKATA 88
Classified By: Classified By: A/POLCOUNS Joel Ehrendreich for Reasons 1 .4 (B and D)
1. (U) Post requests the Department's guidance and assistance in evaluating information on the following candidate from the Indian Police Service, who has been nominated for training beginning June 23, pursuant to the Leahy Act and Foreign Assistance Act.
2. (U) Proposed candidate biodata and course details:
LAST NAME: KANOJIA FIRST NAME: RAJ RANK: INSPECTOR GENERAL SERVICE: INDIAN POLICE SERVICE SERVICE NO.: IPS (WB:82) GENDER: MALE DOB: 08 MAY 1959 PLACE OF BIRTH: VARANASI, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA UNIT: WB:82 IG (LAW & ORDER) COURSE: NDU'S INTERNATIONAL COUNTER TERRORISM FELLOWSHIP (ICTF) ALUMNI COURSE STATE DATE: 23 JUNE 2008 COURSE END DATE: 27 JUNE 2008
3. (C) Post has discovered possible derogatory information on Mr. Kanojia and his alleged role in the Nandigram massacre. In accordance with Leahy standard operating procedures, Post is providing details on the occurrence of a possible human rights violation to the Department of State:
4. (U) In the spring and fall of 2007, Community Party of Indian (CPM-Marxist) members, whom human rights groups claim had state government support and direction, conducted a violent campaign to regain control of the Nandigram area in the East Midnapur district of West Bengal. On March 14, thousands of villagers from Nandigram attacked police and CPM supporters who tried to enter a local agricultural areas earmarked for conversion to an industrial zone. Acting on orders from the CPM-led state government, police fired on the crowd, killing 14 individuals and injuring 45. In November 2007, CPM members, again with alleged support and direction from the state government, tried to regain the land -- firing on crowds and killing another three villagers, burning many houses, and raping numerous villagers. On November 27, journalists reported the discovery of mass graves in the area. Following a government order on December 7, the Criminal Investigations Department initiated an inquiry into the identity of the bodies.
5. (C) Mr. Kanojia was in charge of the West Bengal state police at the time of the March 2007 shooting, as the usual Director General of the police was away on leave. In this role, Kanojia supervised the 18 District Superintendents of Police in West Bengal. (Note: The East Midnapur District Superintendent of Police, A. Srinivas, had on the ground supervision of the police operation in Nandigram. End Note.)
Kanojia did not participate in the shooting nor was he present at the shooting. Consulate Kolkata believes that that Kanojia's role in Nandigram involved planning the police takeover and advocating this plan to the West Bengal leadership. Post believes that while he participated in high-level discussions with state and CPM leadership, he probably did not directly order the police to shoot. One of Kolkata's police contacts divulged that Kanojia was strongly in favor of police action at Nandigram, told CPM leadership that the police could take Nandigram, assert control without much resistance, and easily diffuse the situation. Kanojia publicly defended the police shooting after the event.
6. (C) The Nandigram massacre and related events were featured prominently in Post's 2007 Human Rights Report. Given that Kanojia played some role in the incident -- even if Post cannot substantiate the full extent of his involvement -- Post believes that Kanojia is not an appropriate candidate for USG funded programs.
7. (U) Post appreciates Department's counsel on this candidate and requests guidance on how to proceed.