Skip to main content

2002... when babus, cops 'followed' Modi's orders

As days pass by, Gujarat's 2002 riots and the alleged role of chief minister Narendra Modi appeared to become even more curious. What began with slain BJP leader Haren Pandya's "anonymous declaration" in front an NGO-sponsored "independent commission" that Modi had "directed" police officials to remain indifferent to the rioting crowd at a meeting on February 27, 2002 has by now become a full-blown legal tangle, being fought in India's top courts.
Despite Pandya's decision to remain anonymous, all knew what he had said and talked about, off the record. About a fortnight before he was mysteriously murdered in 2003, he told me, as he did to others, informally during a dinner at Gymkhana Club in Ahmedabad, that he had indeed made the statement in front of the commission – but on the condition that his name would not be made public. A known Modi rival, Pandya was sidelined for opposing Modi, yet his spirits looked strong.
Statements and counter-statements on the 2002 riots and role of Modi have been made ever since. The latest in the series by IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt is already in the news. Interesting though it may seem, things have come to such a pass now that Gujarat's top babus, privately, have stopped disagreeing that Modi "may have" made the statement. Talk to them, and even in extreme cases, they are in the "we-have-no-knowledge-of-what-may-have-happened" mode, or just say, "Ask those present at the February 27 meeting."
Even those surrounding Modi do not want to be counted as being in the denial mode. Who knows, where they may be quoted. A top Modi aide, whom I interacted with the other day informally, gave a rather interesting explanation to what may have happened. The effort was clearly to defend Modi, which is his job. But this aide, who has partially looked after the state's home affairs, too, never sought to deny what Modi may have said. He said, the CM then "perhaps lacked political acumen of an administrator", as he had just taken over the reins of power, adding, "He didn't have administrative experience needed to direct officials what to do. He didn't know whom he was dealing with. It was the duty of those who surrounded him to tell the truth."
The aide, who has also been in the midst of some controversy, said, "Modi may perhaps have been driven by the emotion of any Hindu leader in a given situation, when the train burning led to the death of kar sevaks in Godhra. Obviously, he had his constituency in mind – the Hindu voters. But one should ask as to why IPS and IAS officials, who attended the meeting, did not act the way they should have. As serving officials, they are supposed to act firmly when the situation demands them to. They should not be guided by the political thinking of their bosses."
The aide blamed things directly on the type of officials who surrounded Modi then. He described at length the characteristic of each of them. He called then DGP K Chakravarthi "the man acted as if he was never in the field", one who was clearly "incapable" of taking tough decisions. As for the then Ahmedabad police commissioner PC Pande, who has been in the eye of storm for his "indifferent role" in the Gulbarg Society massacre in which ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jaffri was killed, the Modi aide said: "He was too mild. He is known to have never taken any firm decision, either."
Then, this aide turned to IPS officer MK Tandon, who was joint commissioner of police, sector 2, Ahmedabad, during the riots. "I know him since long. He is well-known for evading tough decisions. He would just disappear when he was most needed", the official said, recalling his "personal experiences" from the field. The aide made a similar remark on PB Gondia, the IPS officer, who was accused by riot victims of dereliction of duty, as he was DCP in-charge of Meghaninagar area where the Gulbarg Society is located.
"On top of these officials, we had the chief secretary (G Subba Rao), who always acted in an over-cautious manner, and was afraid of facing difficult situations. How could one expect him to act tough and ask cops to act with a strong arm?", the aide asked, adding, "Then, we had the additional chief secretary, home (Ashok Narayan), who was more busy in analyzing Bhagwad Geeta than looking after the home department. How do you expect him to direct IPS men to go strong? With these types of officials, and crowds running amuck during riots, things were bound to happen as they had."
"What could Modi do, surrounded as he was by such officials?", this aide concluded, adding, "If Modi went wrong, what stopped these officials to act? It was a situation very similar to the 1984 Sikh riots. Rajiv Gandhi was a novice in handling administrative affairs, and the police officials in Delhi went indifferent." The aide insisted, "Not Modi, but these officials are to be blamed. As a politician, Modi is will naturally see his constituency. But as serving officers, how could they act like this?"
---
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/true-lies/suggested-heading-2002-when-babus-cops-followed-modi-s-orders/

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Surprised? Communist candidate in Ahmedabad bypoll in a Hindutva bastion

On October 11, 2019 morning, as I was scanning through daily news online (I don’t read papers now), I found that both BJP and Congress candidates from Ahmedabad’s Amraiwadi assembly constituency, which fell vacant following the victory of its BJP MLA in the Lok Sabha polls, have been asked to explain as to why they had cash in hand for election campaign, and why they did not deposit their money in a bank account. Fighting the bypoll, BJP’s Jagdish Patel and Congress’ Dharmendra Patel had declared they possessed Rs 1.81 lakh and Rs 1.70 lakh as cash in hand, respectively, for election expenditure.

When Gandhi said Congress can 'only die with the nation'; warned of its weedy growth

I don’t recall when, why and how, but I have been under the impression for decades that Mahatma Gandhi wanted the Congress dissolved after India attained Independence. However, a few days ago, I was pleasantly surprised on seeing a Facebook post by Hari Desai, a well-known Gujarati journalist and a Sardar Patel expert, putting on record and claiming that this, indeed, was never the case. Desai released the photograph of “Harijan”, edited by Gandhi himself, dated February 1, 1948, which carried an article by Gandhi written on January 27, 1948, three days before he was murdered, clearly stating that the “Indian National Congress ... cannot be allowed to die”, and that it can “only die with the nation.”

A top Gujarat High Court lawyer who lived and worked for the underprivileged

When I came to Ahmedabad to join as assistant editor of the Times of India in 1993, I didn’t know Girish Patel was a senior advocate of the Gujarat High Court. Apart from assisting the then editor, Tushar Bhatt, my job was to specifically look after the editorial page, which also meant I should be selecting from among the letters to the editor that we would get, edit them appropriately, and put them in the Letters to the Editor column.

Attack on Gandhi: Where diehard Left and extreme Right appear to meet

Another Gandhi Jayanti has come and gone. Several of the top comments – some which we also published in www.counterview.net – on this occasion hovered around US president Donald Trump calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi “father of India”. Perhaps things wouldn’t have taken a turn that it did had not Modi’s “diehard” followers like Union minister Jitendra Singh going so far as to say that those who “do not feel proud” of Trump’s comment that Modi is the “father of India”, do not consider themselves Indians.

Nitish Kumar a 'Modi-fied' chief minister 'refusing' to hark to reason

Yesterday, I came across an unusual Facebook post by my veteran journalist colleague, Law Kumar Mishra. It recalls an incident which took place when Mishra was posted in Rajkot as the Times of India correspondent during of the worst droughts in the region in late 1980s. At that time Amarsinh Chaudhury was Gujarat chief minister. Currently Patna, Mishra compares how Chaudhary handled drought with the way Nitish Kumar has been handling Bihar floods.

The enigma called Amit Shah

Those were turbulent days. It was, I remember, second half of March 2002. The post-Godhra riots in Ahmedabad, as elsewhere in Gujarat, may have lost their intensity, but rioting had still not stopped. It was my first meeting with Amit Shah, Gujarat’s former minister of state for home, who has shot into prominence after the CBI arrested him in 2010 allegedly for being an accomplice in a triple murder case, involving the fake encounter of a gangster, Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauserbi, and aide Tulsiram Prajapati. At that time, he was MLA from what then was one of the largest state assembly constituencies, Sarkhej, in Ahmedabad, with a voters’ strength of 10 lakh. All that I knew of him was, he was “very popular” in his constituency, almost invincible. He had just met chief minister Narendra Modi, and I had a very vague idea on his proximity to Modi, who had taken over reins in Gujarat.
Shah was coming out of the chief minister’s office (CMO), situated on the fifth floor of Block No…

Enlightened Buddha didn't want monks to get enchanted by the glance of a woman

Some of my Dalit friends, including Martin Macwan, whom I respect as one of the best human rights activists I have met, have a great fascination for Buddhism. Nearly all Dalit rallies or functions I have attended carry with them Buddha’s photographs. Probably, one reason could be that Dalit icon Babasaheb Ambedkar converted to Buddhism because he believed this was the only religion of India which does not believe in casteism. Many Dalits, not without reason, get converted to Buddhism.

Rupani is a better choice as Gujarat CM, but is that enough?

You can be a frank and an approachable leader, but is that enough for you to solve social issues which bog society? Soon after Vijay Rupani became Gujarat chief minister on August 5 evening, a top Sachivalaya insider, whom I have known for more than a decade, phoned me up to know what people thought of “the new incumbent”. Hesitant, I told him that he knew Rupani for quite some time, in fact ever since Rupani was in the Rajkot Municipal Corporation, hence he should know better. Refusing to be named, he didn’t mince words, “Rupani is frank, approachable, dynamic”, adding, “It has always been a boon to work with him.”

Why Hindu rites make me recall theatre of absurd and Backet's Waiting for Godot

As I was student of English literature for five long years (1970-75), doing my BA (Hons) and MA course from Delhi University, I (quite like my classmates) never read anything about a term towards which I was to become fascinated in late 1970s -- theatre of the absurd – apparently because it was a French concept. Coined by critic Martin Esslin in his 1960 essay "Theatre of the Absurd", at that time I had only vaguely knew that it pertained to post-World War II plays written by European playwrights.

Why should one doubt 'popular' Soviet support to Nehru was spontaneous in 1955

A lot is being written on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Howdy event in Houston. Indeed, none can can deny it was a grand success, so much so that even Opposition Congress leaders have begun praising it. One of the most commented, adversely of course, is President Donald Trump calling Modi "father of India".