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Police ex-chief blames VHP, Bajrang Dal for riots
|Bureaucratic circles in Gandhinagar have been stunned by a letter written by PC Pande, Ahmedabad's former commissioner of police, blaming the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal for the riots in Gujarat's premier city.
Pande had been severely criticised for his and the police force's inaction when Ahmedabad witnessed the worst riots in a decade, resulting in the death of more than 300 persons.
Pande was largely blamed for the carnage in Naroda Patia precinct of Ahmedabad and in Gulmarg Society where more than 130 people were burnt alive in two separate incidents on March 1.
The controversial letter dated April 22 (Ref: M/456/02) is addressed to Gujarat Home Secretary Ashok Narayan and is nothing less than a charge sheet against the two organisations affiliated to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
The commissioner wrote the letter before he was transferred out of the office by KPS Gill, security adviser to Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Pande, in the letter written in Gujarati, said the supporting parties of the government were carrying out "vikrut" (perverted) activities, which were "adding fuel to the fire". He went on to list four such activities, which are classified as criminal offences under the Indian Penal Code.
Pande wrote that the VHP and the Bajrang Dal were extorting money with promises of protection against possible attacks by Muslims and people were paying under duress.
He also alleged that the two groups were putting pressure on businessmen not to employ Muslims.
The third serious charge the former commissioner made was that VHP and Bajrang Dal workers were not allowing Muslim daily wagers to earn their livelihood in Hindu-dominated areas.
The fourth charge he made relates to the damaged assets and properties of Muslims. Pande said Muslims were not even being allowed to inspect their shops in Hindu-dominated areas and feared that these properties would ultimately be usurped. Pande warned the government that such activities would not help in the restoration of law and order and said there was an urgent need to control them.
Ashok Narayan was not available for comment, but sources in Gandhinagar said the government did not initiate any action on receipt of the letter. The state's home minister, Gordhan Zadaphiya, said he had not even heard of such a letter.
- Sheela Bhatt, New Delhi (rediff.com) q
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