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Gujarat ex-minister tells SIT to probe Modi's role in 2002 riots

By A Correspondent in New Delhi
September 10, 2009 13:33 IST
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The 2002 riots in Gujarat were the result of a thoroughly thought-out, elaborate and heinous strategy to communalise the society at large in Gujarat with a view to derive political benefits, writes former Gujarat minister and ex-Indian Police Service officer Jaspal Singh to the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team that is looking into the role of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his ministerial colleagues and police officers in the riots.

Jaspal Singh, who has been the commissioner of police and then mayor of Vadodara, wrote the letter on September 7, 2009 to Dr R K Raghavan, Chairman, SIT.

Here we reproduce the full text of Singh's letter:

Dr R K Raghavan,
Special Investigation Team
Supreme Court of India,
New Delhi


Sub: Gujarat Riots of 2002 – Action thereon

Apropos my letter dated Jun 06, 2009, I write to compliment you for pursuing investigations into the Gujarat riots of 2002 with vigour by recording statement of Mrs Zakia Jafri, widow of late of Mr Ehsan Jafri, a former member of the Parliament, Shri R B Sreekumar, IPS (Retd), former DGP of Gujarat, and Mr Rahul Sharma, a serving IPS officer of Gujarat cadre. While the progress of the case does bring some comfort to the victims of the genocide unleashed in Gujarat, lot more remains to be done as expeditiously as possible, so as to instil a sense of hope in the hearts and minds of Indians, that the rule of law would be respected and no one would be spared for flouting it. The happenings of 2002 have brought shame and disgrace of unfathomable
proportions, and only investigation by the SIT under your command can redeem the honour of the country.

I list below some of the matters which need to be investigated in detail in pursuance of trust reposed in you, and your team by the hon'ble apex court. Your efforts will assuage the terribly dented image of our great country, and hence your responsibility is immense. As a retired IPS officer I consider it a matter of pride that the job to redeem the honour of the country has been entrusted to the SIT headed by an IPS officer. The outcome of the SIT's investigation and actions following it may prove to be a benchmark in the history of our country.

1. Communalisation of Gujarat: The mayhem in Gujarat was the result of a thoroughly thought out elaborate and heinous strategy to communalise the society at large in Gujarat, with a view to derive political benefits. Towards that end the exclusivist, fundamentalist and sectarian pseudo-religious groups among Hindus and Muslims played a leading role, aided and abetted by those at the helm.

2. Examination of participants in the crucial meeting chaired by the CM Narendra Modi: Examination of the following persons is crucial for the purpose of the SIT:

a) Smt Swarnakanta Varma IAS, the then Acting Chief Secretary
b) Mr Ashok Narayan, IAS, the then Home Secretary
c) Dr P K Mishra, IAS, the then Principal Secretary to the CM
d) Mr Anil mukim, IAS & Mr A K Sharma, IAS Secretaries to CM
e) Mr P C Pande IPS, then Commissioner of Police Ahmedabad
f) Shri K Chakravarty, IPS, the then DG of Police, Gujarat
g) Shri G C Raiger, IPS, the then Addl DGP of Gujarat
h) Shri Nityanand, IPS, Secretary in the Home Department.

3. Representative of CBI: The SIT must examine Shri Rajendrakumar, the then Jt.Director, Central Intelligence Bureau in charge of Gujarat who had insisted on the state DGP to deem the burning of the train at Godhra as a terrorist act mounted by the ISI.

4. Examination of Ministers: Examine all those ministers of Shri Modi's government about the details of the meeting held at the residence of the CM on 27.02.2002, including the then Minister of State for Home Shri Govardhan Zadapiya who had admitted in the state assembly about the meeting convened by the CM. It may be mentioned that the state assembly was in session on the day the tragic events took place at Godhra. This can be verified from the official records of the state assembly. This will clarify that the CM had directed the officers to permit free play of Hindu revengefulness on the Muslims (Reference to June 03, 2002 issue of the weekly – Outlook).

5. Whether prompt action taken: Examine whether there was delay in requisitioning army and central paramilitary forces with a view to give free hand to the anti-Muslim rioters.

6. Law and order review meeting minutes: Examine the minutes of the law and order review meetings chaired by the CM, the chief secretary, and the DGP jointly or otherwise and subsequent follow up action by subordinate officers in the police department, and executive magistracy from district magistrates to Mamalatdars. If minutes were not kept it would be obvious that monitoring of the implementation of decisions could not haven been done.

7. Follow-up action: Examine how the monitoring of the implementations of the decisions in these review meetings was done by the CM to DGP without minutes of these meetings.

8. Media reports – sources: Conduct deeper probe in to the source of media reports about the meeting chaired by the CM, where the CM directed the officials to be soft on Hindu rioters.

Investigation on the above lines could provide evidence of extra judicial confessions.

Some further investigations that are necessary are:

a) Examination of documents on the communications between and among the CM's office, CS Office, home department, DGP office and the commissioners of police of Ahmedabad, Baroda, and SPs of major riot affected districts in the period from 27.02.2002 to 31.05.2002. Similar correspondence from the relevant police stations to district / commissionerate level officers also be examined to find out whether there were major omissions and commissions to facilitate the pogrom against the Muslims

b) Examination of documents on communications between the DGP and the state control room in Gandhinagar, and the commissionarates, besides offices of the DSPs, Addl DGP (Intelligence)

c) Examination of entries in the registers and log books of the police patrol vehicles in cities and important towns.

d) Examination of documents on various incidents and action reported by DGP and CP Ahmedabad and riot affected districts to their higher officers.

e) Examination of reports by DGP, home department, chief secretary, ADGO (Intelligence) to the central government and to find out veracity of reports and efforts of anyone to suppress truth.

f) It is on record that the Gujarat state intelligence branch had sent daily reports to Shri B K Haldar, Jt Secy, MHA, New Delhi from 13.03.2002 onwards. Besides, daily reports which were sent on various specific incidents that took place in Gujarat. A study of these reports will indicate that there was anti-minority prejudice explicit in the actions of the state police which prompted them to avoid arrest of Hindu rioters and concentrating on penalising the Muslims. Analysis of the statistics prepared by the Add DG., Intelligence, Gujarat, in the form of daily reports will reveal that the casualties in the police action weighed heavily against the Muslims, as also the destruction and damage to properties.

g) Action must be taken to procure data regarding representations from the riot-affected people and general public received through phone calls, written complaints and personal representations from 27.02.2002 to 31.05.2002. It is also necessary to examine the quality and character of response to these by the enforcing officers. In case responses are found to be inadequate, and unprofessional, an adverse inference can be drawn against the concerned officers.

h) Examination of documents on meetings held by CP, Ahmedabad and other police commissionarates and affected districts during the same period to find out the nature of instructions given and decisions taken thereon and the extent of their implementation.

i) Examination of concerned officers from DGP to field officers at the police station level on their failure to comply with the directions and instructions on handling of communal situation in Gujarat as per Gujarat state police manual Vol-III, Rule 21 to 31, and DGP Gujarat's booklet on 'Criminal Riots – Strategy and Approach' forwarded to all senior police officers by the then DGP Shri K V Joseph vide his letter No. SB/49/1050/1175 dated 19.11.1997, compilation of government instructions captioned 'Criminal Peace', and recommendations of Justice Reddy commission and the commission headed by Justice Dave.

j) Officers in charge of areas where large scale violence happened should explain the reason for their dereliction of duties in violation of the provisions of Gujarat police manual Vol-III, Rules 24, 134, 135 and 136. It is relevant to note that such culpable connivance by government functionaries with the rioters had prompted the apx court to portray the Gujarat bureaucracy as modern day Neros and the hon'ble Supreme Court had actively intervened to correct the aberrations by ordering :

i) Transfer of Bilkisbano rape case to CBI in April 2004
ii) Transfer of Bilkisbano and Best Bakery cases to Maharashtra in April 2004.
iii) Review of 2000 odd closed cases (August 2004)
iv) Creation of SIT to reinvestigate 9 major carnage cases (March 2008)
v) Order of the Supreme Court to the SIT to investigate on all points contained in the complaint filed by Mrs Jafri (April 2009)

k) SIT should go in to the series of circumstances indicating criminal motive of the CM, Gujarat and his collaborators in projecting the Godhra train fire incident as an outcome of conspiracy by ISI and a terrorist act. There is sufficient evidence to prove that even before the investigating or intelligence agency had any information about conspiracy behind the Godhra fire, the CM, Gujarat, a national leader of BJP, declared it to be a consequence of conspiracy. This is the starting point of anti-minority carnage. The CM made a statement in the state assembly that the Godhra train incident was a pre-planned terrorist act and was a result of a conspiracy.

l) In fact the Gujarat police brought out the questionable conspiracy element only by the end of March 2002. The apex court had not supported the Gujarat state government's application of provisions of the then prevailing POTA on the accused of the Godhra train fire.

m) Revelations by some witnesses in the Godhra train fire case in the operation 'kalank' brought out by Tehelka magazine about the Gujarat police bribing them to give false evidence. The then Home Secretary Mr G C Murmu, and government pleader Mr Arvind Pandya tried to tutor the then Addl. DGP. Shri R B Sreekumar to support government's conspiracy theory during his cross examination by the Nanavati Commission. The then Godhra Collector Ms Jayanti Ravi openly stated that the Godhra incident was criminal and she did not mention either about the conspiracy or it being a terrorist act.

n) In fact in my view the ill motivated declaration of ISI being behind this conspiracy was a part of the larger conspiracy to perpetuate genocidal crimes against the minority community for ensuring political consolidation of the majority community in favour of the BJP to procure electoral dividends. Simultaneously the Sangh Parivar could achieve their ever pursued hidden agenda of treating the Muslim minority as second class citizens. Having denied proper relief and rehabilitation in pre-riot vocations/trades, commerce and agriculture, many riot victims were forced to compromise with the perpetrators of the violence and consequently not even 25% of the cases reviewed on the apex court's orders could end up in prosecution of accused persons.

o) Abnormality and impropriety in the following actions by Shri Modi government after the Godhra incident need to be uncovered, as they are linked to the plans to inflict maximum damage on the Muslims.

I. A condolence resolution was passed in the state assembly to condone those who were killed in the train fire, though no person for whom such resolutions are customary were killed.

II. No condolence resolution was passed to condone the death of Ehsan Jafri, a former MP as was customary. This was in total violation of legislative norms.

III. No discussion in the state assembly on the riots was held for over 10 days as the assembly remained closed during the period.

IV. The CM and BJP leaders supported the Gujarat Bandh call given by the VHP on 28.02.2002.

V. Neither the CM or any senior BJP leader made any appeal for peace on the eve of the Bandh on 28.02.2002.

VI. Parading of dead bodies of Godhra fire victims in Ahmedabad city was done in violation of all regulations in this connection. Please enquire in to how the dead bodies were handed over to unauthorised persons, viz, VHP leaders and not the legally entitled kin of the diseased. SIT should procure all documentary evidence about the whole process, viz, which officer had released the dead bodies to the VHP. Please procure and confiscate the relevant records immediately. Who were the persons who received the bodies, why unidentified dead bodies were also handed over to such unauthorised persons. The concerned officers be asked to produce the details of government order, if any, in this connection. In case relevant officers take the cover of non availability of records, they should be prosecuted for deliberate destruction of evidence.

p) Mr P C Pande the then commissioner of police, Ahmedabad should be examined on the following fatal acts of negligence facilitating the blood bath in Ahmedabad city.

I. Non-initiation of preventive measures as per numerous instructions including those in Gujarat Police Manual etc. from 27.02.2002 onwards when anti minority riots started.

II. Why imposition of curfew on 28.02.2002 was delayed up to 1300 Hours?

III. Why no redeployment of the SRP and additional police force was not done on 28.02.2002? The SRP continued to be at the same places as they were before.

IV. Please examine as to what follow-up action he had taken on the state IB reports as cited in the affidavits filed by the then Addl. DGP Intelligence.

V. What further action did he take on his letters to the DGP, and the secretary, home, about the role of VHP in fomenting trouble and extortion of protection money from miscreants?

q) Examine the officers of the state intelligence branch Ahmedabad city and other major riot-affected areas as to whether they reported the anti minority stance of the police at the ground level during and after the riots resulting in non-registration of FIRs by the riot victims. Misinformation of the intensity of crimes, clubbing of numerous offences as just one single incident.

r) Not arresting Hindu accused promptly, and not taking them on remand for collecting additional evidence, and recovery of looted or stolen property.

s) Prejudicial stand of special public prosecutors some of who were office-bearers of the Sangh Parivar.

t) Examine the officers in charge of the riot affected areas regarding the instructions given by them in response to distress calls from the riot victims, monitoring of the implementation of these instructions, any disciplinary action taken against anybody for non compliance etc. Examination of relevant documents in the CP or SP offices, offices of range DIGs/IGs and SDPOs, and police station officers absolutely imperative.

u) Electronic and print media had brought out graphically the pictures of parading of dead bodies, ghastly scenes of riots etc. These be procured and analysed, and further probes be done like arresting those found indulging in violence.

v) Many Sangh Parivar leaders and accused in anti-minority carnage had boasted about their active involvement in the riots to Shri Ashish Khaitan, the Tehelka correspondent in the video. Make further inquiries about the information brought out in operation 'kalank'. These revelations are extra judicial confessions. The forensic test of all these persons is also necessary.

w) Please examine state home department officials and DGP, Shri K Chakravarty about follow-up action initiated by them on the state IB reports regarding prejudices of the state police against the riot victims. Please examine Home Secretary Shri Ashok Narain, as to what action he had taken on the demand by the National Minority Commission about highly inciting and incendiary speech of the CM in 2002.

x) Please examine the secretary, law department, for appointing supporters and office-bearers of the Sangh Parivar as special public prosecutors to present cases against the accused belonging to Hindu community.

y) Please examine the district magistrates of relevant districts as to why they recommended supporters and office-bearers of the Sandh Parivar for appointment as police public prosecutors to the state law department.

z) Please examine the Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi, about the details of instructions given by him to the chief secretary, home department officials and the DGP during the riots and subsequently. Did he notice any acts of omission or commission by such officers, if so what action he had initiated to correct the system and discipline those who derelicted their duties. Did the CM initiate any curative measures to redress the grievance of the victims before the intervention by the NHRC, the apex court, and the national level bodies. If no such action was taken, then this must be deemed as part of a conspiracy to perpetuate violence on the Muslim minority and subversion of criminal justice system. Please examine Mr Modi on the action taken by him about malicious role of one of his cabinet ministers, Mr Bharat Barot, in inciting anti minority violence as reported by the CP, Ahmedabad.

It is quite likely that the government functionaries who collaborated with the CM and the Sangh Parivar in executing anti-minority violence will refuse to provide relevant evidence to the SIT. Therefore the SIT will have to depend on the documentary evidence in government and police records heavily. Once clear picture about planning and execution of conspiracy emerges, the relevant culprits should be confronted and their forensic test be carried out.

I strongly feel that a few officers known for their competence, professionalism and integrity need to be inducted in to the SIT from the Gujarat police. The supervisory officers in the SIT at present are handicapped by their lack of knowledge Gujarati language. To overcome this problem I would strongly recommend the induction of the following officers in to the SIT.
1. Mr Satish Verma, IPS 1986
2. Mr Rahul Sharma, IPS 1992
3. Mr Rajnish Rai, IPS 1992
4. Dr Mrs) Neerja Gotru Rao, IPS 1993 and
5. Mr Hasmukh N. Patel, IPS 1993
For probing points contained in the complaint filed by Mrs Jafri.

Any failure by the Indian Judicial system to bring under the clutches of law, the real planners and executioners of anti-minority genocide in 2002 would further energise anti Indian forces internationally and particularly those jihadi groups who have been denigrating the Indian state authorities for their failure to protect the minority community. The Islamic terrorists who had claimed responsibility for explosions and terror acts throughout India since 2002 have declared their dastardly acts as revenge and retribution for Gujarat genocide. These groups will fully capitalise on any situation which will provide immunity from prosecution to the CM, Shri Narendra Modi and his aides and attract frustrated riot victims to their camps to the detriment of our national interest.

Praying for expeditious actions on the above suggestions/requests.

Yours sincerely,

Jaspal Singh IPS (Retd)

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A Correspondent in New Delhi