Dereliction of duty

How Gujarat’s top cops deserted residents of Gulberg Society

CP Pande:

Curfew was declared in the Meghaninagar area (where the Gulberg Society) is located at 12.54 pm on February 28 according to the police control room (PCR) records. By then, according to the PCR record logged at 12.38 pm, the Gulberg Society had been surrounded by a mob of 4-5,000 armed with weapons. In law, the commissioner of police, Pande had the responsibility of declaring curfew on time.

At 2.09 pm, PI Meghaninagar, Erda even asked for central forces but the PCR records show no deployment of paramilitary forces in the area till late in the evening. It is a decision that should have been taken by the Pande hours before.

JtCP, MK Tandon
Though he received a call from his boss, Pande, informing him of the attack on the residents of the Gulberg Society in the Meghaninagar area, JtCP Tandon preferred to stay put between 2 pm and 3 pm in the Revdi Bazaar area, a place five kms away from Gulberg Society. The PCR messaged Tandon informing him that Ahsan Jafri and other residents of the Gulberg society were in danger. But Tandon did not budge from the Revdi Bazaar area which was apparently calm with no incidents of violence.

In spite of Erda desperately seeking additional deployment at Gulberg Society around 2.30 pm, Tandon left the Revdi Bazaar area only after he was ordered to do so by Pande around 3 pm. Ironically, the Revdi Bazaar area where Tandon appears to have sought asylum falls under the jurisdiction of his counterpart, Shivanand Jha. During that critical period Jha himself did not leave the comfort of his own office at Shahibaug.

DCP Zone IV, PB Gondia
Not only did Tandon stay away from the entrapped citizens at Gulberg society, his deputy, DCP Zone IV, Gondia too chose the safety of the Kuber Nagar area, 6 kms away. In spite of being repeatedly informed by PCR about the violence raging in Gulberg Society, Gondia did not act. Gondia arrived at Gulberg Society a few minutes before 2 pm on that fateful day only to leave the place in less than an hour, leaving the hapless victims at the mercy of the armed mob. Later that afternoon, he moved to the Kalupur area which incidentally was outside his jurisdiction.

Thus the responsibility of the entire Meghaninagar area during the most crucial hours of February 28 – from 11.30 am to 3.30 pm – was left to PI Erda. This despite Erda’s repeatedly plea to his bosses (via the PCR) that the situation was spinning out of his control and senior officials with reinforcements should be rushed to the spot. While Erda is now an accused in the trial, Gondia, Tandon and Pande have totally escaped the SIT’s net.

Here is incontrovertible evidence of top cops turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the pleas of victims under attack, even choosing to stay away while areas under their own jurisdiction were aflame, for reasons best known to them. The entire Meghaninagar area was left unattended by senior police officials even when a residential society along with a neighbouring police chowkey were set afire leading to huge casualties. Among the 70 persons maimed, massacred and burnt to ashes, was former parliamentarian Ahsan Jafri.



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