Senior Police officer Sanjeev Bhatt on April 14 filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court (SC) accusing the Special Investigative Team (SIT) probing the Gujarat riots of covering up the truth. The officer disclosed that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had instructed officers to allow Hindus “to vent out their anger” during the clashes in order that the Muslims be “taught a lesson”. This has elated those who seek justice for the victims of the Gujarat riots. But they need to pause. There is a disturbing aspect which they should not overlook.
On May 27, 2002 shortly after the riots when several people including this scribe were seeking an effective probe into the carnage the following was written by this scribe in the press: “A reported briefing by KPS Gill by Gujarat’s IPS officers… said that a meeting of the top officials was held on the night of the Godhra incident. Officials were told to go soft on Bajrang Dal and VHP activists. Ignoring bureaucratic advice Narendra Modi insisted on transporting17 bodies of Godhra victims to Ahmedabad for their last rites. There was a mammoth funeral procession through Ahmedabad’s streets by VHP and Bajrang Dal activists. Later, these activists started the riots.”
Whatever else might be the truth about those riots the decision of the Chief Minister to hold a funeral procession in Ahmedabad in that surcharged atmosphere revealed acute administrative incompetence in failing to anticipate the consequences.
Till this day, what to speak of the riots, even the probe of the Godhra train fire has left vital questions unanswered.
All this has been written about earlier and does not bear repetition. What needs to be asked now is why the police affidavit has been filed nine years after the event when the media had exposed allegations sourced to KPS Gill shortly after the riots had occurred?
This creates legitimate doubts. It would appear that probes and prosecutions by the government’s investigative agencies are undertaken with the sole motive of gaining political advantage at any given moment of time and not for uncovering the truth and punishing the guilty.
Need one recall the farce of the 1984 anti-Sikh genocide probe?
Events and allegations are recalled at different times, years after the event, to score political points demanded by expediency. The actual investigation is allowed to drift aimlessly.
Does not the affidavit of Mr. Sandeep Bhatt nine years too late raise questions about its timing and its motive?