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

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Annexure 9

Police: Dereliction of Duty

Testimonies from the numerous survivors of the genocide in Gujarat, provide abundant evidence of dereliction of duty and in many cases even complicity of sections of the police force in the ethnic cleansing of Muslims.

Numerous reports published in the national dailies since March 1, too, record several instances of brazen anti-Muslim bias, evident in the acts of commission and omission by policemen - from constables to top officials - SRP jawans and even Fire Brigade personnel. We reproduce below excerpts from some of them:

Minors shot by police

Vadodara: An 11-year-old girl in Dudhia village was hit on the head by a bullet in police firing and is now recuperating at the SSG hospital, Vadodara. A 14-year-old was killed in police firing at Kisanwadi. The bullet went through his chest. In Halol, a bullet ricocheted from a wall on a veranda of a one-storied-house, injuring a two-and-a-half-year old. At a time when the state police are accused of "inaction" as mobs went around looting and killing during the recent riots, records at the SSG Hospital here, which is treating numerous riot victims, are pointing at another "folly" – police forgot the rule book during the riots and shot many above the waist while controlling the mobs.
—The Times of India, March 1, 2002

Police chief vanishes as Rajkot burns

Rajkot: While Rajkot burnt on Thursday, its police commissioner did a vanishing act. As mobs rampaged through the city and curfew had to be clamped after a gap of 17 years, Upendra Singh switched his mobile phone off and was nowhere to be found. And, with their chief not in sight, the inefficiency of the local police came to the fore as mobs attacked marked targets at will.
—The Times of India, March 1, 2002

"The Police watched as we were attacked"

Vadodara: "We were surrounded on all sides by police vans but had to contend with stones from the mob. The police did nothing to stop the attack. On the contrary, an ex-corporator instructed them on how they should ensure that we have no way to escape," said a resident of Memon colony. "The police looked on as mob attacked and destroyed homes of an ex-judge and retired army colonel," said Iqbal Memon, who also added to the complaints of police inaction.
—The Times of India, March 2, 2002

RAF accused of atrocities in Surat

Surat: Rapid Action Force (RAF) jawans are alleged to have beaten up and misbehaved with Muslim women and an elderly maulvi in Surat. The jawans reportedly went on the rampage on March 3, a day after residents of the predominantly Muslim suburb of Rander faxed a message to President KR Narayanan and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, seeking protection from Hindu mobs. They now plan to move court and complain to the human rights commission against the RAF and police.
—The Hindustan Times, March 5, 2002

6 deaths after mob attack, police call it ‘asphyxiation’

Por (Gandhinagar dist.): … Police say all mohalla residents were evacuated; the villagers say some had already been killed before the evacuation began. Irfan Ali Shaikh, a survivor who lost his wife, says women and children were soft targets for the mob. "They killed them pressing their fingers on their throats and police also forced us to bury the bodies in a hurry to kill any proof of murder."
—The Indian Express, March 5, 2002

Police fails to provide security to activist

Ahmedabad: Well-known social activist and state vice-president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, JS Bandukwala, a personal friend of defence minister George Fernandes, has been forced to go into hiding following an attack on his residence at Sama, Baroda. The police has failed to provide adequate security to him despite several requests. This is not the first time that the Bandukwalas have been targeted during communal riots.
—The Asian Age, March 6, 2002

Failing the people

Sabarkantha: 137 petitioners from the district have moved the Gujarat High Court to have their voices heard. They claimed that the police had not recorded their individual FIRs. The role of the police in Sabarkantha district, as a case in point, has only recently become the subject of debate, from the Lok Sabha to the Police Bhavan in Gandhinagar. The main allegation against the Sabarkantha police is that they did not do enough to protect the innocent and were now preventing the registration of FIRs against the individuals who led the mobs.
—The Indian Express, March 13, 2002

"We were just watching, why did they fire at us?"

Ahmedabad: "All the women had gathered for majlis - a ceremony before Muharram which is attended by women only. We were returning home when we saw smoke around Navapura area... the women came outside to check what was happening when suddenly, police personnel barged inside our homes and started firing directly at the women," alleges Mumtaz. (The 18-year-old Mumtaz Bano Darbar, a physically challenged girl, escaped death, though she was hurt by a police bullet)...

"They didn’t even throw tear-gas shells or lathi charge first," claims Sherbano Abbas Bukhari, an 18-year-old girl who was shot in the chest. "The policewala was only five metres away when he fired directly at me," sobs Sherbano, who is in a very critical condition.
—The Indian Express, March 22, 2002

FIR says Muslim MLA led riot mob

Ahmedabad: In a glaring example of what appears to be police connivance with the ruling BJP government in Gujarat, the Ahmedabad police put the name of a Muslim MLA in a FIR for instigating mobs to burn Hindu establishments when he was actually in the Gujarat Assembly attending the session discussing the law and order situation in the state.
—The Asian Age, March 23, 2002


Published by: Citizens for Justice and Peace