Concerned Citizens Tribunal - Gujarat 2002
An inquiry into the carnage in Gujarat

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State Complicity
Police Misbehaviour


1.1. Evidence before the Tribunal clearly establishes the absolute failure of large sections of the Gujarat police to fulfil their constitutional duty and prevent mass massacre, rape and arson — in short, to maintain law and order. Worse still is the evidence of their active connivance and brutality, their indulgence in vulgar and obscene conduct against women and children in full public view. It is as if, instead of being impartial keepers of the rule of law, they were a part of the Hindutva brigade targeting helpless Muslims.

1.2. To start with, the Godhra incident would not have taken place had the police taken due precautions right from the beginning. Given Godhra’s history and communal background, the police should have maintained a strict vigil as kar sevaks crossed Godhra, on their way to Ayodhya and on their return journey, more so because the climate in the country was already tense because of the VHP’s Ayodhya plan. On their way to Ayodhya, the kar sevaks had indulged in provocative acts at Godhra station. Despite these warning signs, there was not enough deployment of forces. (See chapter on Godhra, Volume II). In the circumstances, one may well ask whether this was a case of intelligence failure on the part of the police force, or a deliberate absence of pre-emptive action?

1.3. Once the Godhra tragedy had occurred, the Gujarat police made no preventive arrests. (See Annexures Police statistics, Volume I). The only two arrests made on February 27 were those of Shri Mohammed Ismail Jalaluddin and Shri Fateh Mohammed, who were picked up at Astodia that night, for shouting slogans.

1.4. Significantly, the police waited in the wings as subsequent events unfolded. By the evening of February 27, the VHP had made its intentions apparent with its strident call for a ‘Gujarat Bandh’ the next day and a ‘Bharat Bandh’ the day after. Seeing the Godhra incident as ‘a manifestation of Islamic fundamentalism’, the VHP gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the state government to bring the culprits to book. (Two years ago, in the Gujarat Bandh it enforced on August 1, 2000, the VHP and the BJP had gone on the rampage, destroying Muslim property worth Rs. 15 crore. (See chapter on Build-Up in Gujarat, Volume II). This recent history alone should have been sufficient reason for the police to make preventive arrests and take other precautionary measures.

1.5 Since 1998, there has been a proliferation of hate speech and incendiary pamphlets all over Gujarat. The Gujarat government and the police had enough evidence of this incendiary and provocative literature, printed in hundreds of thousands and thrust even on those opposed to the violent brand of politics that they typify. Various communal Hindu groups — Dharam Raksha Samitis (Committee for Protecting Hinduism), the VHP, the Bajrang Dal — have been circulating these pamphlets inciting its cadres to rape, humiliate, destroy and kill. As of early February this year, a highly provocative pamphlet exhorting cadres to economically boycott Muslims was in circulation throughout the state.Another anonymous pamphlet decreeing filthy conduct against Muslims, especially women, was not only in circulation but had it’s desired effect as the bestiality of the violence reveals. The Gujarat police are guilty of not initiating or pursuing criminal action against the hate-mongers for four long years, even after hate speech and hate writing had frequently been used to create an ‘appropriate’ social climate to precipitate violence against the minorities. To argue that hate speech is not related to engineered violence would be puerile. In August 1998, the VHP’s pamphlet, ‘Onward To Sanjeli’ resulted in anti-Muslim violence in Sanjeli and Randikpur. In December 1999, the Sangh Parivar’s reign of terror in the Dangs in south Gujarat was preceded by anti-Christian pamphlets that were distributed in lakhs. (See Annexures, Hate Writing, Volume I).

1.6. There is adequate evidence recorded by the Tribunal from rural and urban Gujarat, which points to systematic data collection by the VHP/RSS/BD outfits, aided by sections of the state administration under the direct control of the fraternal BJP. The exhaustive survey included drawing up of lists using revenue and sales tax records, electoral rolls, information from the registrar of companies and door-to-door information collection drives by shakhas (cells) of these outfits, to enable action, both precise and swift, at the right time. Throughout the sinister planning and plotting, the Gujarat police maintained a discreet distance, adopting a non-interfering stance to blatantly unlawful activities. On March 12, posted an interview by the Gujarat VHP chief, KK Shastri on its website. He revealed in the interview: "In the morning (February 28), we sat down and prepared the list (of Muslim shops ands establishments to be targeted). We were not prepared in advance." The police have not thought it fight to initiate any inquiry or action against Shri Shastri despite his self-confession of the VHP’s criminal misconduct.

1.7. The Tribunal received direct information through a testimony from a highly placed source of a meeting where the chief minister, two or three senior cabinet colleagues, the CP of Ahmedabad, and an IG police of the state were present. This meeting took place on the late evening of February 27. The meeting had a singular purpose: the senior-most police officials were told that they should expect a "Hindu reaction" after Godhra. They were also told that they should not do anything to contain this reaction.

1.8. The Tribunal also has evidence of a secret meeting, held late in the evening of February 27, in Lunavada village of Sabarkantha district. Between 3 and 6 p.m., a call was made from the house of Dr. Yogesh Ramanlal Pandya, in Godhra to Dr. Anil Patel (a member of the Gujarat Doctor’s Cell), intimating him about the meeting. A call was also made to the police housing corporation chairman, Dr. Chandrakanth Pandya (from Kalol). Shri Ashok Bhatt, the state health minister who was then sitting in the Godhra collectorate, was also intimated about the meeting. Transport minister, Shri Prabhat Singh Chauhan, who hails from Panchmahal, was reportedly also called to attend. One AP Pandya was also present at the meeting. The phone calls were made to invite 50 top people of the BJP/RSS/BD/VHP and the plan was to assemble them at someone’s house in Lunavada (Sabarkantha). Fifty top people, the Tribunal was told, met at this undisclosed destination and detailed plans were made on the use of kerosene, petrol for arson and other methods of killing. The state intelligence did not or could not track such meetings and preparations for the gruesome violence that was to follow.

1.9. On the night of February 27, some companies of the State Reserve Police (SRP) were rustled into action: one was sent to Godhra from SRP Group-III Naroda, and another to Ahmedabad rural. Some more companies from Ghodasar were moved into parts of Ahmedabad by early morning. But they were split into groups of four or five jawans each, which rendered them largely ineffective against the mobs that went on the rampage on February 28.

1.10. "The police tried their best, but they couldn’t stop the mobs. They were grossly outnumbered when the mobs grew," Ahmedabad’s police commissioner, Shri PC Pandey had pleaded. But in most cases, inadequacy of forces is a mere excuse touted by serving police officers who fail in their primary duty. Even in Gujarat this time, in several cases where good officers held out against political pressure, the same small deployment was enough to act decisively and control the situation. In the vast majority of cases, however, the police either did not act or acted on behalf of the mob.

1.11. PC Pandey publicly changed his stand four months later when, on June 1, 2002, in an interview he stated that "VHP and BD were responsible for the violence in the state." ( Detailed annexures, Volume III).

1.12. On the evening of February 27, DD telecast the statements of DGP Gujarat, Shri K Chakravarty: "As a precautionary measure, since there was a possibility of a flare-up, the district authorities have imposed curfew in Godhra town and in all other sensitive towns in Gujarat; especially the towns and cities which are coming on the train route, maximum alert was kept… The entire state police machinery has been put on red alert. The state reserve battalions have been positioned in all the communally sensitive areas and instructions have been given to all the SPs and the commissioners to take strict action against all anti–social elements and such action is already is in progress… since the incident took place all of a sudden, there was no possibility of that being prevented." In retrospect, these comments proved to be farcical, given the sheer inadequacy and complicity of the police the very next day.

1.13. The shocking levels of police complicity in the Gujarat carnage cannot be over-emphasised. On February 28, of the 40 persons shot dead by the police in Ahmedabad city, 36 were Muslims. This, despite the fact that it was the minority community which was being targeted by huge and well-armed mobs on that day, at both Naroda Gaon and Patiya as well as Chamanpura. (See Annexure, Police Statistics, Volume I). Among the numerous instances of the police making victims the target, is also one that took place on April 15, when two persons belonging to the minority community, Shri Ayub Khan Pathan being one of them, were shot dead at Dariapur, Ahmedabad. The police was effectively aiding an attacking mob that was pelting stones on the hapless Muslim residents in the area. Even minors were shot at, a few fatally, by the police. (See Annexures, Police: Dereliction of Duty, Volume I).

Gujarat Police has finally admitted that it killed more Muslims than Hindus in its ostensible attempts to stop what was clearly targeted Hindu violence against Muslims. Of the 184 people who died in police firing since the violence began, 104 are Muslims, says a report drafted by Gujarat police force itself. This statistic substantiates the allegations of riot victims from virtually every part of the state that not only did the local police not do anything to stop the Hindu mobs; they actually turned their guns on the helpless Muslim victims.

At some places in the state though, this trend, of more Muslims falling to police bullets than Hindus, was reversed. In both Bhavnagar and Banaskantha districts, five Hindus died in police firing on rioters. No Muslim was killed in Banaskantha, only one died in Bhavnagar. The superintendents of police of both districts were promptly removed from their posts. The number of Muslim and Hindu deaths in police firing, despite having been computed by the Gujarat police, have, so far, not been released. Coming out with the truth would only inflame the situation, it is feared.

1.14. Shri Pandey’s comments, telecast during the ‘Newshour’ bulletin of Star News on February 28, on the role of the police under his command was telling: "These people also, they somehow get carried away by the overall general sentiment. That’s the whole trouble. The police are equally influenced by the overall general sentiments." Here we have a top police official being indulgent towards his policemen who "somehow" get carried away by "general sentiments", when the least that could be expected of him would be a categorical assertion that those in the force who had failed to enforce ‘the rule of law’ were a disgrace to the uniform they donned and would themselves be punished in accordance with the law.

1.15. Shri Pandey pronounced on ‘Newshour’ (Star News) on March 2: "The situation is well within control. In fact, it is fast returning to normal. So we hope that within the next maybe 12-24 hours, we would have complete peace." The people of Ahmedabad who lived in terror until late April know otherwise.

1.16. The police did not even conduct the mandatory police drill. They did not even follow basic procedure stipulated for such circumstances. It did not contact religious and community leaders to make appeals for peace, nor did it take steps to arrest the culprits and give support to the victims.

1.17. On February 28, as carefully planned mass killings were engineered in 30 different locations all over the state, two senior cabinet ministers sat in the police control room in Ahmedabad and the state police control room in Gandhinagar and directly influenced police action, or inaction. Gujarat’s health minister, Shri Ashok Bhatt — who, incidentally, faces a criminal charge for the murder of a police head constable, Desai, on April 22, 1985 at Khadia in Ahmedabad — was in the police control room (PCR) at the Ahmedabad police commissionerate in Shahibaug for more than three hours on February 28. And urban development minister, Shri IK Jadeja who is considered Modi’s right hand man, had parked himself in the state police control room at Gandhinagar for four hours from 11 a.m. onwards on the same day. Commissioner Pandey’s untenable explanation is that they were only there to facilitate the easy flow of government directions, as union defence minister George Fernandes was to arrive in the city on March 1. In a crisis situation, the control room is a critical area of operation since this is one place where every bit of information is sent to and received from various locations in the city, or the entire state. The officer-in-charge of the control room is always kept informed on wireless about what is happening. To have cabinet ministers sitting inside the state and city police control rooms can mean only one thing: they were there to influence the independent functioning of the police. The actions and non-actions of the Gujarat police on that day and thereafter, are, barring a few sterling exceptions, proof of the partisan, political control over the police.

1.18. The police chiefs of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Mehsana, Panchmahal, Dahod and Sabarkantha stand individually indicted for their failure to control unprecedented violence under their respective jurisdictions. The SPs of several of Gujarat’s 24 districts are also directly culpable. (See chapter List of Accused: Policemen, Volume II). The general message sent out to the police was: minimum response to panic calls and minimal action thereafter; indulgence towards armed mobs as they went about their business of killing, rape, loot and arson; either non-registration or tailoring of complaints from victims. It is unpardonable that the police obeyed such unwritten directions from Shri Modi and other political bosses.

1.19. The Tribunal has enough evidence to establish that the Gujarat carnage was not simply a case of failure or abdication of duty; in far too many cases, the police were accomplices in the carnage. (See section on Incidents of Violence, Volume I). We recall here just a few of the most glaring instances of obvious police complicity:

® On February 28, former Congress MP, Shri Ahsan Jafri from the Gulberg society in Chamanpura, made repeated frantic calls pleading for police assistance against a huge mob in a murderous mood. He kept calling the control room for several hours, until, finally, with no one to check the mob, he was charred to death along with 65 of his relatives and neighbours. Pleading anonymity, police officials who met the Tribunal confirmed that Shri Jafri had also made frantic calls to the director general of police, the police commissioner, the chief secretary and the additional chief secretary (home) among others. Three mobile vans of the city police were on hand around Shri Jafri’s house but did not intervene. Finally, when he came out of his house with folded hands and appealed to the crowd to spare all the others who had taken shelter in his house, the marauders cut him to pieces and then consigned him to flames. They also set fire to the house in an attempt to burn alive all those who were in the house. It was only nine hours later that the Rapid Action Force (RAF) of the central government intervened, by which time it was far too late.

® At around the same time as the carnage in Chamanpura was taking place, the massacre in Naroda Patiya began, in which, by the end of the day, over 91 Muslims had been torched. Over two dozen survivors from Naroda Gaon and Naroda Patiya who appeared before the Tribunal said that they had attempted over a hundred distress calls to the police commissioner and other police officers for help, all in vain. They said that the commissioner’s mobile was permanently switched off. The response from most of the other top officers — additional CPs and DCPs — was equally callous. Police finally arrived only around 11 p.m.

® Shri KK Mysorewala, police inspector, Naroda police station, was indicted by several eyewitnesses for being a mere bystander, watching the massacre of helpless men, women and children at Naroda Gaon and Patiya.

® The police could not, or did not, respond to pleas for protection to a retired and a sitting judge of the Ahmedabad high court (Justice Akbar Divecha and Justice MH Kadri respectively), compelling them to seek army help on the night of February 28-March 1. None less than the sitting chief justice of the Gujarat High Court told his brother judges not to rely on the police.

® The police did nothing while a very large number of shops, hotels and business premises were looted and burnt. Almost nine months after the carnage, they have made no attempt to recover the goods looted even by people from educated, rich and middle-class backgrounds. In all probability, the looted goods could be recovered from the homes of the culprits even today.

® The state police was nowhere to be seen as huge mobs comprising several thousands looted and torched Muslim property, from farms to factories large and small, on the Ahmedabad-Modasa highway, the Baroda-Godhra road and the Sanjeli/Randhikpur-Baria road in broad daylight. Armed mobs wreaked havoc all over, their actions co-ordinated by troop leaders who issued instructions on their mobile phones as they were driven around on motorcycles. These motorcycle riders would track fleeing Muslims and instruct mobs that would soon close in on them to rape, brutalise, hack and kill. This was particularly the case on the Godhra-Modasa route, which runs through Panchmahal district. There was no patrolling of the highways in Gujarat, which only demonstrates the police’s utter ignorance of, if not indifference to, the modus operandi of the Sangh Parivar leadership and cadre who have consistently mocked the law and order machinery in the past two years.

® In the Best Bakery Case in Vadodara, policemen from the Panigate police station simply drove by the bakery, totally unmindful of the huge mob that had encircled it. Not long after that, 14 persons were burned alive.

When Vadodara’s commissioner of police, Shri DD Tuteja was contacted by concerned citizens and traumatised survivors to protest against the overall failure of the police to respond to complaints, he is claimed to have remarked, "Aapka naukar kiska kaam karega?" ("Who’s work would your servant do?"), implying that the police is subservient to the ruling party in power. In the meeting which he agreed to have with the Tribunal and which lasted for several hours, Shri Tuteja was urbane throughout and kept insisting that he and his police force did the best that was possible in the circumstances.

The loot and plunder of the home of senior citizen and prominent human rights activist, professor Jussar Bandukwala in Vadodara city also exposes the police. Shri Bandukwala chose to live in a Hindu dominated (Sama) society. However, his home could not be saved.

® The Panchmahal and Dahod police were party and privy to the burning alive and hacking of villagers. The police posted at Anjanwa, Mora, Pandharwada villages, as also those near Limkheda and Limwada and Fatehpura (Dahod district) did nothing to stop the killings. The Mehsana district police were also guilty of the same misconduct, when they failed to prevent massacres like the ones at Sardarpura, Visnagar and Unjha. Similarly, in Anand and Kheda districts where massacres have taken place, the police presence was of no help. Detailed testimonies recorded from Ankleshwar and Bharuch also reveal complete dereliction of duty by the police.

1.20. One of the most shocking aspects of the Gujarat carnage was that the

constituencies of some ministers and sitting MLAs were the arena for the worst incidents of carnage. Bapunagar in Ahmedabad, one of the worst affected areas, is the home constituency of the minister of state for home, Shri Gordhan Zadaphiya. Paldi, Ahmedabad is the constituency of Shri Haren Pandya, former state home minister and, until recently, revenue minister in Shri Modi’s cabinet. Shri Nitin Patel, also a state cabinet minister, is charged with leading the violence (including sexual assault of a woman) in Kadi, Mehsana district. Shri Nararayan Patel is transport minister in Shri Modi’s cabinet, from Unjha in Mehsana district who allegedly inspired and abetted mob violence, including sexual assault and arson. Rajkot, from where Shri Modi recently won an election, had never witnessed a riot before. Shri Prabhatsinh Chauhan, transport minister from Panchmahal has been directly indicted by witnesses. Shri Ashok Bhatt, state health minister, is named in the evidence of victims. In all these areas, the police took no preventive steps; worse, in areas like Paldi, Gomtipur and many district places, many eyewitnesses have charged them with helping and even leading mobs.

1.21. To begin with, police failure to quash rumours, deliberately floated to inflame passion and fuel violence, is unpardonable. Justice Jagmohan Reddy’s commission of inquiry report after the 1969 violence has recommended detailed methods for the police, especially to tackle rumour. These should be revised and re-interpretated given the fact that 33 years have elapsed and immediately implemented. (See Detailed Annexures, Volume III). In addition, from February 27 to April 10, it failed miserably in taking decisive action to control the violence that followed. The daily newspaper Sandesh was used to actively promote fear and insecurity in the minds of the majority while the minority was being targeted. However, the police did precious little to diffuse the situation.

1.22. As if this were not bad enough, the police itself committed atrocities against Muslims, especially in Vadodara (Bahar Colony, Noor Park and other areas) and Ahmedabad (Gomtipur and elsewhere). Even women were beaten and thrashed, often on their breasts and vaginas. In fact, such widespread sexual misbehaviour of the police with Muslim women marks a new low in police misconduct against the minorities.

1.23. It is a matter of public knowledge that in the past 3-4 years the VHP and the Bajrang Dal have distributed trishuls on a large scale in Gujarat. Barely disguised as a ‘religious symbol’, trishuls are sharp, three-pronged weapons that can easily cause fatal injury. These organisations have had no qualms in publicising their arms training camps, even for young children and women. Witnesses from the area who deposed before the Tribunal said that Kathwada, near Mehmdavad in Kheda district, is one of the locations that the Sangh Parivar combine allegedly used for training in the use of weapons and techniques of killing. The Gujarat police cannot pretend to be unaware of the regular camps that have been conducted in recent years, arming and training bands of youth. Besides, as is evident from the track record of these outfits that in Gujarat, and elsewhere in the country, the VHP/BD have frequently disturbed peace and harmony. Yet the Gujarat police took no steps to seize the weapons, stop the training camps or act against its practitioners in any other way. Significantly, even after the carnage, the distribution of trishuls, swords and other arms continued in Gujarat until late March. It was only in mid-April, after the orgy of violence had claimed a very large number of victims and more or less run its course, did the police finally seize arms in Bejalpur, Shahpur, Maninagar, Vatwa and Kalupur in Ahmedabad. However, there has been no prosecution, no arrest of persons indulging in such acts, no seizure of the trishuls and swords distributed on such a large scale. Carrying weapons that can be used to kill is an offence and the police should have taken action against the offenders right at the outset.

1.24. In one case, on May 16, the Rajkot police did seize 170 swords from Mansukh Patel, a BD activist, and for which they arrested him. This time it was SM Soni, the first class judicial magistrate who let the accused off lightly.

1.25. Police conduct after the Gujarat carnage, with regard to the registration of crimes, conducting of investigations etc., has been marked by a desire to please political bosses and an utter disregard for the law of the land. This is nothing but calculated miscarriage of justice. The police are required to file separate FIRs for each incident. Instead, separate incidents of crime committed by different aggressors at different places at different times have been clubbed together in single omnibus FIRs. Panchnamas have either been made 3-4 weeks after the incidents or not at all. Also, if the charge-sheets filed in the Gulberg (Chamanpura), Naroda Gaon and Patiya massacres are anything to go by, the names of the main accused have been conveniently dropped. Worse still, in places like Pandharwada, Anjanwa, Mora (Panchmahal district), Randhikpur and Sanjeli, Fatehpur and Dailol (Dahod district) as well as in villages in Bharuch, Sabarkantha, Mehsana and Himmatnagar districts, the Tribunal has evidence of the police bullying victim-survivors into filing FIRs wherein only mobs are mentioned, without naming the assailants and mob leaders whom the victim-survivors had clearly recognised during the incidents of violence. The CPs of Ahmedabad and Vadodara are also culpable for similar police misconduct.

1.26. In far too many incidents of violence, the police refused to intervene, sided with the perpetrators of crimes, itself indulged in criminal acts, and denied curfew passes to social workers and human rights activists who, at great risk to life and limb, moved around nonetheless at the height of the violence, in a bid to restore peace.

1.27. The police completely failed in providing protection to relief camps sheltering traumatised and desperate survivors, for as long as six months in many cases.

1.28. Police conduct in compiling data and statistics about the loss of life, destruction of property, missing persons, too, has been totally callous to say the least.

1.29. Continuing violence: In Ahmedabad city, Vadodara, Himmatnagar, and Mehsana district, where violence continued unabated, as also in places like Panchmahal district, Rajkot and Bhavnagar where sporadic incidents occurred, the police inspired no confidence amongst the affected, even after the first round of brutalities. It is responsible for highly dubious conduct from mid-March to mid-May. On the eve of PM Atal Behari Vajpayee’s visit to Ahmedabad on April 4, the police led an assault against Muslims in the curfew-ridden parts of Gomtipur. In the presence of Shri Parmar, an official from the Ahmedabad collectorate, the police led by PI, SD Sharma, set upon the 750 refugees of the Suleiman Roza Relief Camp (behind Nutan Mills), Saraspur, and actually shot two persons, Shri Pirujbhai Mohammad Sheikh (30) and Smt. Khatoonbi Sharfuddin Saiyed (45). As a result, the 750-strong camp was wound up under threat of violence. On April 3, Advocate Shri Nizam was shot dead by the police inside his home while Dr. Ishaq Sheikh, vice-president of the Al Ameen Garib Niwas Hospital, was brutally assaulted. (See section Incidents of Violence: Continuing Violence, Volume I). On April 14, the police shot dead two more persons at Dariapur, even as they were being attacked by a violent mob. The Tribunal is certain that the number of lives lost due to deliberate police criminality is astronomically high. (These figures are being withheld by the state government.) All its acts of commission and omission are sufficient to indict the Gujarat police before any forum for justice.

1.30. As late as November 12, as CEC, JM Lyngdoh, was visiting the state to oversee operations for safe elections, rampaging mobs terrorised Muslim families who had returned from Dasaj town to their nearby villages Mehrwada, Jaska and Kohda (Mehsana district). Minister Narayan Laloo Patel was actively involved in instigating the violence and the SP Arun Sharma did not quite inspire confidence among the targeted community.

2 Communalisation of the Police Administration

2.1. Evidence before the Tribunal clearly indicates that since the assumption of power by the BJP in Gujarat in February 1998, there was a calculated move to sideline Muslim police officers. Muslim officers were given non-executive posts. (they were assigned to crime investigation etc.). The eight Muslim officers, from a total of 141 IPS officers in the state, were kept away from decision-making posts.

2.2. The Tribunal notes with shock that, as a result of this discriminatory practice by the Gujarat government, the younger batch of Muslim IPS officers who joined service in ’92-’93 have not known executive policing because they have simply been denied the opportunity to test their executive capabilities.

2.3. Gujarat is the only state in the country where IPS officers who are Muslim have never been assigned the post of deputy SP of police. For an IPS officer, the charge of SP, or DySP is a critical training opportunity to gain in executive and supervisory experience.

2.4. The Tribunal recorded the testimonies of many police officials who, for obvious reasons, cannot be identified. In every police chowki, the normal practice is to make head constables in-charge of a beat or outpost. Since the BJP assumed power in Gujarat, it has ensured that in the few instances where a head constable might be a Muslim, he would not be in-charge of the beats/outposts under the chowki.

2.5. Evidence led before the Tribunal indicates that ministers in the BJP government in Gujarat made public statements to ensure that Muslims in the state’s police force were sidelined. For instance, in 1999, Shri Mahen Trivedi, the minister of state for home, stated publicly at a police function: "We have told you that we don’t want Muslims in controlling posts. Why is he posted there?" (Confidential testimony of police officers before the Tribunal).

2.6. Currently, there are 65 Muslims in police service, at the DySP and inspector levels, in Gujarat. With the exception of one, who has a close relationship with a minister, the rest have all been shunted to CID crime, computer training, civil defence and railways.

2.7. Discrimination in the police force is in line with the discrimination in other government departments in the state. In the three critical government departments concerned with recruitment — the Gujarat Public Service Commission, (GPSC), the Panchayat Service Selection Board and the Gram Seva Samiti — there is not a single member from any minority community. In the vital departments of government — establishment, recruitment, law and order, finance and loans department, there are no minority persons at all. This is blatantly anti-constitutional as it violates the principles of non-discrimination and equal opportunity.

2.8. Politicians of all hues resort to punitive transfers, which only reinforces the oft reiterated demand for an independent police force in the country. (See chapters on Disturbing Trends in the Indian Police & Recommendations, Volume II). In Gujarat, such transfers take place at the behest of the Sangh Parivar.

2.9. After the carnage, several police officers suffered for their upright behaviour in controlling violence and preventing further loss of life. From the evidence placed before the Tribunal these are:

® Shri Vivek Srivastava, SP, Kutch: The young officer arrested a Home Guard commandant after he assaulted a Muslim woman. The commandant is a known VHP worker. Shri Srivastava was shunted to the post of SP (Prohibition).

® Shri Praveen Gondia, DCP Zone IV, Ahmedabad City: Shri Gondia registered FIRs against prominent BJP and VHP leaders for their role in the rioting. He was transferred to Civil Defence.

® Shri Himanshu Bhatt, SP, Banaskantha: He suspended a sub-inspector who had allowed a Hindu mob to plunder a village in the district. The PSI is close to several BJP and VHP leaders. Shri Bhatt was transferred to the Intelligence Bureau.

® Shri Rahul Sharma, SP, Bhavnagar: The riots erupted when he had only been in charge for 25 days. Shri Sharma fired on a mob that was trying to set a madrassa (school) on fire, and put all its leaders behind bars. By his firm act, 400 young lives were saved. A local BJP leader wanted the culprits released but Shri Sharma refused to oblige. The officer is now DCP (Control Room). On March 1, the 1992-batch officer broke up a rally led by a Shiv Sena leader and VHP activists. For several days, Shri Sharma held his ground, resisting pressure from BJP MLAs, minister of state for home, Shri Gordhan Zadaphiya and others. When leaders in the rally including the SS leader, Shri Kishore Bhatt and 21 VHP activists raised inflammatory slogans, the SP issued instructions for their immediate arrest. This brought the situation under immediate control.

On the evening of March 1, when mobs were prowling the streets, the Bhavnagar police, who had never faced a riot before, momentarily seemed to lose confidence. "Sensing that my men were hesitating, I got out and fired the first round and they immediately joined me. We managed to disperse the mob and did not allow them to regroup," Shri Sharma had told the press at the time. For this, he had to face the heat from political bosses. The BJP MLA, Shri Sunil Oza, called up Sharma, accusing him of stirring up trouble by arresting Sena and VHP leaders. The MLA, in fact, threatened the police, saying that if the arrested were not released, it would cause a serious law and order problem. But the police stuck to their principles.

Shri Oza is reported to have then exerted pressure on the DGP’s office, but after considering the case, the DGP’s office chose not to pressurise Shri Sharma. They then tried to instigate riots to get Shri Sharma into trouble. All of a sudden, 22 incidents were reported from his district. That is when the police decided to use force. The Bhavnagar police were on their toes, opening fire wherever and whenever necessary. By March 3, there was nothing to report but peace. When the Army eventually reached Bhavnagar, it had little to do. But the interference did not stop here. Shri Zadaphiya called up the Bhavnagar city police and told them not to register cases against those injured in police firing. The police refused to oblige. Shri Sharma paid the price for his uprightness.

® Shri Ajit Srivastava, PI, Khanpur police station, surveillance branch, Ahmedabad city: On February 28, this officer saved the lives of 35 Muslim women who were trapped inside some hutments with a mob surrounding them within his jurisdiction. It took him over 40 minutes to convince the women to trust an officer. He then risked his life and limb by jumping into the fire that had already started and fortunately saved them. Later that day, around 8 p.m., while he was in the Madhopur police station area, Shri Srivastava risked his left for the second time the same day to rescue 134 Muslims surrounded by an over 20,000-strong mob. In the process, he prevented what could very likely have been two more incidents of ghastly massacre in Ahmedabad city.

® Shri Shivanand Jha and Shri VM Parghi, additional CP and DCP of Ahmedabad: They were transferred on April 8 and appointed as DIG, Armed Unit, Rajkot and commandant of SRP, Group Eight, Gondal, respectively. Shri Parghi was the officer who beat up journalists at the Gandhi Ashram on April 8, while Shri Jha had admonished him and tried to do his duty.

® Shri Vinod Mall, SP Surendranagar: For having efficiently controlled violence and foiled attempts at provocation in his district, he was given a promotion posting in Ahmedabad which effectively deprived him of direct charge of a district.

2.10. The Gujarat government under the BJP has used the IB (Intelligence Bureau) to promote the sangh parivar’s political agenda of targeting the minority community. In the past, police stations maintained details of places of residence and business of members from the minority community, to ensure them protection whenever necessary. The present government grossly misused the IB machinery to find out who lived where, making their cadre’s job of loot and arson easy.

2.11. A secret circular, issued by Gujarat’s director of police (intelligence) to the top brass of the state police in 1999, reveals the hostile attitude of the BJP-led state government towards Muslims over the last three years. The circular directed all police commissioners, district police officers and range IGPs/DIGPs to "intimate details of persons (Muslims) involved in communal riots which occurred in their city/district during the last five years — viz., offence registration section, place, what was the judgement by court, how many times the person was booked under CrPC Sections 107,151,110, or PASA, NASA." According to the circular (No. D 2/2, Com/Muslim/Activity/84/99 of 1/2-2-99), the district police officials and others were asked to "intimate (to the state) how many darul ulmas (madrassas) were functioning in their districts/cities and where they are located."

2.12. The present government had attempted to use the police to put together a selective census of Christians and Muslims but was compelled to withdraw after a nation-wide protest. The Gujarat police, under instructions from the government, instituted a ‘Cell to Monitor Inter-Community Marriages’, a step that is in gross violation of the Indian Constitution. That the police could undertake such activity without questioning its inherent anti-constitutional and sectarian basis is a sorry reflection on the state of the Indian police.

2.13. One of the gravest charges made by the victim-survivors and also senior police officers too who deposed before the Tribunal, is of the great danger to the neutrality of the Gujarat police force by overt and covert measures to infiltrate it with persons owing allegiance to the thinking and mind-set of the RSS/VHP/BD and BJP. The dangers of such developments cannot be over-stated. Instead of a man or a woman wedded to constitutionalism and attendant values, the result of such placements could be a police official who does not care to protect lives without fear or favour, regardless of caste, creed and community. He or she is more concerned with furthering a particular thinking that has on many an occasion in the present been the cause of the perpetration of violence.

2.14. Some lists of politically convenient appointments to the police department were placed before the Tribunal. (See Box, Sangh Nexus with Police). This needs further investigation and, if true, the situation must be redressed. This is imperative if a clean and politically untarnished police force is to be put in place to ensure justice and peace.

2.15. Apart from the police, the BJP has filled several posts within the

state’s Home Guards with members of the VHP. The head of the Home Guards in Mehsana district is also a senior VHP functionary. (Significantly, the public prosecutor in Mehsana district, Dilip Trivedi, is also the VHP’s district chief. Moreover, the district magistrate/collector, Amrut Patel is a close relative of Shri Narayan Laloo Patel, a BJP minister and one of the prime accused for leading attacks in the district). There is a policy decision under the Home Guards’ scheme to create a new post, ‘suraksha sahay’ (security assistant) akin to the existing post of ‘shikshak sahay’ (assistant teacher) Under this scheme, policemen are hired on a monthly remuneration of Rs 2,500 for four years. The recruitment procedure is ad hoc and does not follow the normal rules. The intention is, obviously, to make them permanent after four years. Over the last 5 years more than 8,000 VHP workers have been inducted into the state Home Guards, with many district chiefs being VHP office-bearers. The Home Guard’s position is a critical one for the maintenance of law and order in rural areas. Through massive infiltration over the past four years, the BJP and its rabid wings have virtually taken control of the Home Guards machinery. The fact that in the testimonies recorded by the Tribunal victim survivors spoke of the launching of attacks on their persons and property by Home Guards is both shocking and revealing. (See section on Incidents of Violence, Volume I).

2.16. The intense insecurity felt by Muslims in Gujarat is borne out by the fact that even Muslim policemen are/were afraid to put name tags on their uniforms and had sought special permission to be on duty without their name tags. Special IG, Shri AI Saiyed, with over 25 years of service, was asked to help a group on his way to Karai in Gandhinagar district. When Shri Saiyed tried to help the hapless people, he was himself attacked when the mob saw his name.

2.17. On May 3, the police made attempts to restore peace, by serving notices on many sarpanches who "failed to inform the authorities about the violence in their villages." More than two dozen sarpanches in Chhotaudaipur, Kanwat and Pavi Jetpur talukas were shocked when they received notices under section 40 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) asking them to explain why they did not inform the police when mobs ran riot.

2.18. The Tribunal was informed that police only wanted to keep the sarpanches on alert and was not intent on pursing the notices seriously. The idea was merely to ensure that they would prevent further violence in their areas. Contrary to what the police had expected, none of the sarpanches divulged the names of persons involved in riots. The notices require the sarpanches to appear and explain their side of the story to the police.

2.19. The height of the ‘fear and favour’ policy of the current political dispensation is borne out by CM Modi’s treatment of senior officials. On September 18, the Gujarat state intelligence bureau chief and his two deputies were summarily transferred on punishment postings because Star News gained access to police tapes on Shri Modi’s shocking anti-Muslim remarks made at Bahucharaji near Mehsana on September 9, 2002. The additional director general of police Shri Srikumar was transferred to the police reforms department. He had joined the state IB just four months earlier. Deputy inspector general of police, Shri E Radhakrishna, in-charge of political and communal affairs, was transferred to Junagadh as principal of the Police Training College, while DCP, Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, in-charge of internal security, was transferred as principal of the State Reserve Police Training College.

2.20. The Tribunal is of the view that a significant section of the Gujarat police is guilty of gross dereliction of duty and of flouting the Indian Constitution and Indian criminal law. Therefore, all the individual policemen named by the Tribunal in the list of accused must be promptly prosecuted. The shameful and brazenly partisan conduct of the police in the Gujarat carnage is a blot on Indian democracy and Indian secularism. Our democratic and secular credentials are truly tested only in times of such acute crisis. In such situations, the police have been utterly partisan and communal, repeatedly failing to protect and even themselves trampling on the fundamental rights of India’s religious minorities. This highly disturbing trend needs to be dealt with urgently and comprehensively.

3. Legal Remedies

3.1. Sections 107-110 and sections 143-152 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) give adequate preventive and punitive powers and deem it the duty of district magistrates and police chiefs to prevent breach of peace and ensure the rule of law. They have the power and the duty to:

® Demand execution of bonds, with or without security, from persons likely to commit breach of peace (sec 107);

® Demand security for good behaviour from any person who intentionally disseminates or attempts to disseminate or abets the dissemination of any material that is likely to incite communal passion or religious hatred (sec 108);

® Demand security for good behaviour from suspected persons (sec 109);

® Demand security for good behaviour from habitual offenders (sec 110);

® Prohibit repetition or continuance of public nuisance (sec 143);

® Issue orders in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger (sec 144);

® Arrest without warrant (sec 145-148);

® Prevent cognisable offences (sec 149);

® Inform (to immediate seniors) of design to commit cognisable offences

 (sec 150);

® Arrest to prevent the commission of cognisable offences (sec 151);

® Prevent damage to public property (sec 152).

If the above-mentioned provisions of the CrPC spell out the powers and duties of district magistrates and police chiefs to ensure the rule of law, the All India Service Rules (1969) provides for the punishment of errant IAS and IPS officials:

3.2. Apart from violating Indian penal and constitutional law, dereliction of duty is a clear violation of the ‘All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, Part III – Penalties and Disciplinary Authorities’. Under these rules, there already exist provisions for the dismissal from service of IAS and IPS officials guilty of "any act or omission which renders him liable to any penalty specified in rule 6."I (See Detailed Annexures, Volume III).

4. Communalisation of the Bureaucracy

4.1. The Tribunal has received substantial evidence of the deep communalisation of the state bureaucracy. Collectors and deputy collectors are appointed on the basis of political expediency. Again, in these posts they do not perform their constitutional duty. They have in fact been subverting basic rights guaranteed through the Indian Constitution and to which they are sworn, whether in the matter of relief and rehabilitation or compensation claims or law and order. The Tribunal, for instance, received specific complaints about three deputy collectors from Naroda, Rakhial and Ahmedabad city who have not only served more than their four-year term but are patronised by BJP MLA Sushri Maya Kotdani who is directly indicted in killings and massacres and Naroda Gaon and Naroda Patiya. Their names are Shri Manoj Macwana (deputy collector, Rakhial), Shri Manoj Patariya (deputy collector, Naroda) and Shri Gaurav Prajapati (deputy collector, Ahmedabad). Besides this, many DMs/collectors have been indicted in specific cases as in Bharuch and Ahmedabad city and their names have been included in the List of Accused with a strong recommendation from this Tribunal that they be swiftly prosecuted and punished.


Published by: Citizens for Justice and Peace