Although Narendra Modi has received accolades from many for good governance and for ushering in spectacular prosperity in Gujarat, his other side is disturbing. While one does not know whether or not the affidavit filed by Sanjiv Rajendra Bhatt, a senior police officer — claiming that the Chief Minister asked the police in 2002 to let the rioters “teach a lesson” to Muslims after the Godhra train burning incident — is true, it is no doubt the tip of the iceberg. If what Mr. Bhatt says is true, Mr. Modi clearly launched a hate campaign against the minorities. Is it any surprise, then, that the innocent people, and not the perpetrators of the Godhra carnage, bore the brunt of the dreadful consequences?
The contents of Mr. Bhatt's affidavit may be disturbing but they are not surprising. More disturbing is the role of the Supreme Court-appointed SIT, which Mr. Bhatt has accused of trying to cover up the larger conspiracy. The allegations against the SIT raise serious doubts about its credibility.
Although it has been widely believed since 2002 that Mr. Modi asked the Gujarat police to look the other way during the riots, the charge could not be proved. Not many officials came forward to share what they knew. But Mr. Bhatt's affidavit may take us a step forward in finding out whether Mr. Modi did ask the police to go slow against the rioters.
Mr. Bhatt's bold action is, no doubt, commendable but his affidavit needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Why did the officer keep quiet for nine long years? With K. Chakravarthi, who was the Director-General of Police during the 2002 riots, refuting Mr. Bhatt's claim that he was present at the February 27 meeting in Mr. Modi's house, it has become imperative for the serving officer to come out with all facts openly, including the reasons behind his delay in disclosing the details all these years.
Harsimran Singh Anand,