If Gujarat Police fail to prove that Sanjeev Bhatt is a liar they will prove Modi guilty
Vol 2 | Issue 18
Between July and August 2004, I had the opportunity to cross examine several high ranking officials of the Gujarat Government who had filed their respective affidavits before the Nanavati Commission. The Commission was appointed by the Gujarat Government to find out the truth regarding the burning of the Sabarmati Express on 27th February, 2002 in which 59 passengers had died and the violence that followed killing over a thousand. In 2004, a new query was added for the Commission to inquire into: the role and conduct of the Chief Minister, his other ministers and the official in connection with the riots…
When the bureaucrats and high ranking Police officers are asked to depose before the Commission which is asked by the Government to inquire into the conduct of its own Chief Minister who is perceived to be the main agent provocateur of the violence against the minorities, truth is of course the first victim.
The Police Commissioner of Ahmadabad, Shri P.C. Pande who presided over the mass murders in the city on 28th February, 2002, suffered heavy bouts of amnesia to avoid answering any inconvenient questions. He of course did admit that in the late night of 27th February, 2002, the Chief Minister Shri Modi had called a meeting of the top officials.
Shri Pande also admitted that the atmosphere of the whole city was surcharged like a “tinder-box” and the bringing of the dead bodies would explode the situation. Shri Asok Narayan, the Home Secretary admitted that the dead bodies were brought to Ahmedabad under the orders of the Chief Minister and the bandh call given by the VHP on 28th February made the situation very difficult.
Shrewd move: By his bold disclosure, Sanjeev Bhatt has exposed efforts to shield Narendra Modi on his role in the 2002 riots
The Director General of Police Shri Chakraborty feigned loss of memory and couldn’t remember whether the home minister Shri Zadafiya was present in the meeting! But all of them either denied or avoided to respond to my question as to whether the Chief Minister had advised them to let the majority community vent their anger against the minorities.
Seven years later, they are all shocked at the audacity of Shri Sanjeev Bhatt, IPS who filed an Affidavit before the Supreme Court deposing on oath that he was present in the late night meeting of 27th February, 2002 and had heard the CM instructing the officers present to allow the Hindus to vent their anger and teach a lesson to the minorities.
The disclosure of Shri Bhatt makes all those who were present in the meeting culpable of the mass murders that followed since they were duty bound to counter the CM’s suggestion, if any, as alleged by Bhatt not merely in words but by their deeds.
The facts however show that the Director General of Police and the Police Commissioner of Ahmadabad wholly failed to prevent the mass murders that followed. They have to now prove Bhatt a liar to establish that they did not abet the violence.
Bhatt has really shifted the onus on the top officers to prove that they were not guilty.
And if they can’t prove Bhatt a liar, they would prove their CM is guilty!
Mukul Sinha is a well-known human rights lawyer who represents the Gujarat (2002) riot victims before the Nanavati Commission