July 2007 
Year 13    No.124

State Complicity

Commission and omission

Questions abound about the functioning of the Nanavati-Shah Commission in light of the wealth of material placed before it. There appears to be a definite reluctance to probe this evidence further. Former ADGP, RB Sreekumar and former SP, Bhavnagar, Rahul Sharma deposed before the commission. However, several obvious questions were left unasked:

Why were no minutes prepared of the meetings held by the chief minister and other senior officers to review the situation from February 27, 2002 onwards? Why were such minutes not circulated to concerned officials?

If such minutes were prepared, why were no copies of such minutes submitted to the commission?

Why were the dead bodies of the Godhra arson victims paraded through the streets of Ahmedabad city, especially when many of the deceased belonged to places outside Ahmedabad city and a few had not even been identified at that juncture?

Did the CP, Ahmedabad, or the DGP, Gujarat, report in writing to the chief minister or their superiors in government and administration on the possible adverse repercussions on law and order by this parade of dead bodies?

If any such letters were sent to higher authorities, why were they not placed before the commission?

Why was no preventive action taken against communal elements on February 27/28, 2000 even though the call for a bandh (on February 28) by the sangh parivar and the BJP was issued on February 27, 2002 itself?

Why was the Communal Riot Scheme not put into operation in relevant areas from the evening of February 27, 2002 onwards?

Why was no prompt and effective action taken against the rioters by officers of the rank of DSP (deputy superintendent of police) and above (who had additional forces of armed policemen moving with them), particularly in Ahmedabad city which has about 40 such DSPs and Vadodara city, which has about 30?

Why was no action taken by the policemen in approximately 100 police mobile vans stationed in Ahmedabad city, as also in Vadodara city, against crowds that first began to congregate in small numbers on the morning of February 28, 2002 onwards?

Why was no action taken when enforcers of the bandh created traffic disturbances and indulged in petty crimes on the morning of February 28, 2002 so as to test the mood and strategy of the police?

Why was there a delay in the imposition of a curfew, particularly in Ahmedabad city? (In Ahmedabad, curfew was imposed as late as 1.00 p.m. on February 28, 2002.)

Why were no arrangements made for videography of the violent mobs despite regulations to this effect?

How or why did the police fail to videograph mobs even as the electronic media succeeded in doing so? Were there any orders to prevent this?

Why was no effective action taken against rioters by policemen at specific locations and in mobile patrolling groups, both in vehicles and on foot, from the evening of February 27, 2002 onwards?

Why was there such a delayed response to distress calls from prominent Muslim citizens such as former MP, Ahsan Jaffri, despite their having made frantic calls to the chief secretary, the DGP, the CP, Ahmedabad city, etc, and possibly even the chief minister?

Why were there higher casualties of rioting and police firing among Muslims?

Why were the instructions contained in the compilation of circulars entitled "Communal Peace", issued to all district magistrates and police officers of the rank of SP and above, not implemented?

Why were the "Instructions to deal with Communal Riots (Strategy and Approach)", originally issued by former DGP, KV Joseph, and prepared by former officer on special duty, ZS Saiyed, and forwarded to all executive police officers for strict implementation, not enforced?

Why was there no monitoring of the implementation of instructions issued by the chief secretary, the home department, the DGP and other higher officers from February 28, 2002 onwards?

Why was no action taken against the vernacular press publishing communally inflammatory news reports and articles despite clear reports from the SP, Bhavnagar (Rahul Sharma), the CP, Ahmedabad (PC Pande) and the ADGP (int.), RB Sreekumar, that such action should be initiated?

Why was no action taken or any enquiry instituted against police officers for their alleged failure to record FIRs and conduct proper investigations into complaints of riot victims, largely minorities, although this matter was emphasised by ADGP RB Sreekumar in his reports to the government dated April 24, 2002, June 15, 2002, August 20, 2002 and August 28, 2002?

Why was no action taken or any enquiry instituted against officers of the executive magistracy, particularly district magistrates, who failed to initiate prompt action against rioters, especially between February 27 and March 4, 2002? Similarly, why was no action taken or any enquiry instituted against district magistrates and their staff who recommended the appointment of pro-BJP/VHP advocates as public prosecutors in a bid to subvert the trials that would follow?

Why was no action taken against supervisory officers (i.e. DSPs, Range IGs/DIGs, CPs and the DGP) who violated Rules 24, 134, 135 and 240 of the Gujarat Police Manual-Vol. III by not properly supervising the investigation of serious riot related crimes and who were thereby guilty of culpable omission and grave misconduct?

Why was no action taken against supervisory officers (i.e. the Range IG, Vadodara Range, and the CP, Vadodara city) who were guilty of gross misconduct and negligent supervision in the Bilkees Bano and Best Bakery cases, trials of which had been transferred from Gujarat to Maharashtra by the Supreme Court?

Why was no investigation conducted into the deposition by Rahul Sharma, the then SP, Bhavnagar, before the commission on October 30, 2004, about the location of BJP leaders and senior officers in Bhavnagar while a madrassa was being attacked? (In November 2004, the English daily, The Indian Express, published a three-part investigative report that exposed revealing conversations between influential politicians and policemen.)

Why was no clarification provided on the governments inadequate implementation of recommendations made by the National Human Rights Commission, the National Commission for Minorities and even the Supreme Court?


[ Subscribe | Contact Us | Archives | Khoj | Aman ]
[ Letter to editor  ]

Copyrights © 2002, Sabrang Communications & Publishing Pvt. Ltd.