Books

Modi advised ex-DGP to “go soft on Sangh”

 

Book: Gujarat behind the curtain

Author: RB Sreekumar, IPS (Retd)

Pages: 256 h/c

Publisher: Manas Publications, New Delhi

Year: 2016.

Price: Rs 595

ISBN-13: 978-81-7049-510-9

 

Modi “advised” ex-DGP to go soft on Sangh Parivar, said 2002 Gujarat violence was “natural, uncontrollable” says a book by a top Gujarat police officer in his new book

 

In a glaring instance of how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, continued justifying the 2002 communal riots more than two months after they began, retired DGP RB Sreekumar recalls Modi told him in a one-to-one conversation that violence by Hindus after the February 27 Godhra train burning was “a natural and uncontrollable reaction and no police could control and contain it.”

On February 27, Sreekumar says, Modi had justified during a meeting with police officials, the need for allowing people to vent their anger. Modi, according to Sreekumar, had told them, “In communal riots, police normally takes action against Hindus and Muslims on one-to-one proportion, this will not do now, allow Hindus to give vent to their anger.”

Revealing this in his recent book, “Gujarat behind the Curtain”, Sreekumar, who served as additional DGP of Gujarat in 2002, says, his meeting with Modi took place on May 7, 2002, and it was about “the communal situation in Ahmedabad city, where stray communal incidents, i.e., stabbings in bylanes and lonely areas, were reported.”

The former IPS officer says, he had sent an “exhaustive analytical report” on April 24, 2002, and asked Modi to urgently implement “curative measures suggested in the report for restoring the faith of the Muslim community” in order to avert “any criticism from judiciary or the National Human Rights Commission.”

“The chief minister responded that he had read my April 24 report and observed that my conclusions and suggestions were based on partial data and defective presumptions. In his view, violence by Hindus after Godhra incident was ‘a natural and uncontrollable reaction and no police could control and contain it’,” writes Sreekumar.

“I argued that police could not excuse themselves by taking such a view and police officers were mandated to maintain public order. I added that wherever effective action was taken, like in Surat city (seven killed in riots as against 326 killed in Ahmedabad city and 36 in Vadodara city), normalcy could be restored fast”, Sreekumar says.

On hearing all this, write Sreekumar, “soon, the chief minister became defensive and claimed that he had given a free-hand to officers to take legal action against miscreants in the February 27, 2002 meeting, but many police officers did not do their duties as per their statutory obligations.”

However, adds the ex-IPS officer, “When I emphasized on government taking measures to gain confidence of the Muslims, the chief minister was quite annoyed and said that the Muslims were on the offensive.”

Sreekumar says, “I countered him with statistics of higher percentage of death of Muslims in police action and riots (117 Muslims killed in police firing as against 83 Hindus and 587 Muslims killed in riots as against 177 Hindus) and persuaded him to accept the ground realities.”

Yet, he underlines, the chief minister “did not show any inclination to accept my arguments. He advised that I need not have to concentrate on the Sangh Parivar (to collect intelligence about the organization) as, according to him, they were not doing anything illegal.”

In his book Sreekumar also disputes the “assumption” that the train burning, in which 57 karsevaks died, was a Pakistani ISI job. He says, the only detail Rajendra Kumar, then in charge of Central IB Unit of Gujarat, came up with on ISI was a tape of telephonic conversation by a Godhra resident after the train burning incident, to his friend in Pakistan, expressing joy and happiness over killing of Ram Bhaktas returning from Ayodhya by Muslims in Godhra.”

Sreekumar recalls, DGP K Chakrovorti had told him that “this conversation itself was not sufficient to infer that the attack on karsevaks was an ISI conspiracy and that he would not mislead the course of investigation by Gujarat Police. He confirmed that the police had not come up with any input about conspiracy.” (counterview.net)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 November 2016 on page no. 21

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