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A Few Good Men Wearing Khaki—And Modi’s Handcuffs

The hounding of Sanjiv Bhatt and some other IPS officers shows what lengths the BJP’s prime ministerial aspirant from Gujarat will go to have his way

A Few Good Men Wearing Khaki—And Modi’s Handcuffs
AFP (From Outlook, October 24, 2011)
A Few Good Men Wearing Khaki—And Modi’s Handcuffs
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Sanjiv Bhatt, an IPS officer of Gujarat who is now under arrest, insists he was present at a February 27, 2002, meeting during which chief minister Narendra Modi instructed senior police officers not to check Hindu mobs thirsting for revenge for the previous day’s Godhra train carnage. Bhatt’s official driver had supported that statement, saying he had driven his boss to the meeting, but he retracted later and lodged a complaint that Bhatt had forced him to say that. Without bothering to establish the truth, the state arrested Bhatt.

There is no denying that an urgently summoned meeting was held at the chief minister’s office or residence on the evening of February 27. Under the circumstances obtaining from the train carnage, such a meeting was a must. And even if Bhatt was not invited into the room when Modi addressed the chief secretary, the home secretary, the DGP and the police commissioner of Ahmedabad, I’m sure that, in his capacity as a senior intelligence officer, he would have accompanied the DGP to the venue in the absence of the intelligence chief, who happened to be on leave then. On conclusion of the meeting, the DGP would have briefed Bhatt on the chief minister’s instructions. Intelligence officers are always kept in the loop.

That Modi did give those directions and sent two ministers to ensure compliance by positioning themselves in the police commissioner’s and the DGP’s control rooms is common knowledge in the Gujarat police force. I visited Ahmedabad in April 2002 and talked to many officers and men as well as citizens of Ahmedabad. Not one of my interlocutors denied that the police had failed in its legally mandated duty because of instructions from political masters. There’s no better example than this of politics superceding the law; if a...

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