Reward and punishment

The role of the Gujarat government in constructing the conspiracy theory behind the Godhra train arson and engineering the post-Godhra genocide has now been well documented. The report of the Concerned Citizens Tribunal also documented the names of officers and bureaucrats with a clear nexus to the sangh parivar (Crime Against Humanity – Volume II, Findings and Recommendations).

As far back as April 24, 2002, the then ADGP, RB Sreekumar recorded in a confidential report of the State Intelligence Bureau (which was also submitted to the Nanavati-Shah Commission) that "The inability of the Ahmedabad city police to contain and control violence unleashed by communally oriented mobs created an atmosphere of permissiveness and this eroded the image of the police as an effective law enforcing machinery in society, particularly among the lumpen and underworld segments… Many senior police officers spoke about officers at the decisive rung of the hierarchical ladder viz. inspectors in charge of city police stations ignoring specific instructions from the official hierarchy on account of their getting verbal instructions from senior political leaders of the ruling party."

Worse still was the consistent policy followed by the state government to punish those officers who performed their duties according to the law and to reward those who promoted killings, rape and arson by going along with the unlawful plans of the chief minister and his party during and after the 2002 genocide. For example:

RB Sreekumar: The former ADGP (intelligence) was transferred to the insignificant post of ADGP (police reforms) in September 2002. The transfer was ordered following Sreekumar’s determined efforts to uphold the law and expose the Modi administration’s nefarious activities during and after the 2002 violence. Between July 2002 and October 2005 Sreekumar filed four affidavits before the Nanavati-Shah Commission that provided startling evidence of the chief minister and his administration’s complicity in the genocide, their continuing anti-minority actions and their unrelenting efforts to obscure the truth. In early 2005 Sreekumar was superseded for promotion to the post of DGP, Gujarat, a decision that he challenged before the Central Administrative Tribunal. Although the tribunal ultimately ruled in his favour, the order was delivered on the day Sreekumar retired from service on February 28, 2007.

Rahul Sharma: The former SP, Bhavnagar, was transferred to the relatively unimportant post of DCP (control room) on March 24, 2002. Sharma’s strong actions to quell rioting mobs in Bhavnagar helped bring a volatile situation under control. On March 1, 2002, he prevented an attack on a madrassa that housed over 400 Muslim children by opening fire on the mob. Sharma refused to release the 21 persons/leaders belonging to the sangh parivar who were arrested for the attacks in Bhavnagar despite being under immense pressure to do so. In July 2002 Rahul Sharma was transferred to the post of SRPF commandant for opposing the anti-minority stance adopted by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch in the investigation of Ahmedabad city carnage cases. On July 1, 2002 Sharma filed an affidavit before the Nanavati-Shah Commission. In October 2004 during his deposition before the commission he produced extensive data in the form of mobile phone records that implicate both politicians and policemen in the rioting. Rahul Sharma is currently on deputation as SP, CBI.
 Vivek Srivastava: The former SP, Kutch, was transferred to the post of DCP (prohibition and excise) in March 2002. Srivastava had arrested a commandant of the Home Guard with known VHP links who was creating trouble in the border district. He carried out the arrest despite instructions to the contrary from the chief minister’s office.

Himanshu Bhatt: The former SP, Banaskantha, was transferred to the Intelligence Bureau at Gandhinagar in March 2002. Bhatt initiated action against a sub-inspector who had assisted a rioting mob. The sub-inspector concerned, who had important political connections, was reinstated from suspension and resumed his duties at the same police station.

MD Antani: The former SP, Bharuch, was transferred out of Bharuch to Narmada district in March 2002. Antani took action against some BJP/VHP supporters creating trouble in Bharuch.

Satishchandra Verma: The former Range DIGP, Bhuj, was transferred in March 2005 to the post of officer in-charge, SRP Training Chowky, Sorath, Junagadh, a post usually occupied by officers at the level of SP. The transfer was effected by upgrading the post from the level of SP to DIGP. Verma was transferred after he ordered the arrest of a BJP MLA from Banaskantha for his involvement in the murder of two Muslim boys during the 2002 violence. He carried out the arrest after fresh investigation entrusted to him as part of the review of about 2,000 riot related cases initiated under orders from the Supreme Court in August 2004.

 Jayanti Ravi: The former collector, Godhra, is now on deputation to the central government. Ravi maintained that the Godhra burning was an accident and firmly advised the chief minister against taking the bodies of Godhra train victims to Ahmedabad on February 27/28, 2002. It was these interventions that compelled the cavalcade to go by road, the initial plan being to take the burnt coach further. Following the outbreak of violence, there had also been large-scale arrests of BJP/VHP workers on rioting charges in areas within her jurisdiction.

Neerja Gotru: The SP (prohibition), Ahmedabad, was appointed special investigating officer assigned to reopen investigations in some riot related cases after the Supreme Court’s intervention in late 2003. Gotru reinvestigated riot related cases in Dahod and Panchmahal districts and managed to reopen some of them successfully. She was asked to wind up her probe in September 2004 soon after she ordered the arrest of a police sub-inspector who had burnt 13 bodies of the victims of the Ambika Society massacre at Kalol, all of them Muslim, in an attempt to destroy evidence. She was also instrumental in pursuing arrests in the Delol massacre case, which the same sub-inspector had closed "for want of evidence".

G. Subbarao: The former chief secretary was given a three-month extension in his post and also appointed chairman of the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission for six years from May 2003. Occupying the senior-most position within the state bureaucracy in 2002, Subbarao coerced officials to support the unlawful policies of the Modi government and even instructed officers to ‘eliminate’ minorities.

Ashok Narayan: The former additional chief secretary (home) was given a two-year post-retirement position as Gujarat state vigilance commissioner. He was selected for this sensitive post despite the fact that his conduct and performance as former additional chief secretary is currently under scrutiny at the Nanavati-Shah Commission. Narayan helped the Modi government to carry out its anti-minority policies during and after the 2002 violence. He further demonstrated his allegiance to the chief minister by not revealing anything adverse in his affidavit before the commission and during his cross-examination before the commission in August 2004. Moreover, he did not file a second affidavit under the commission’s second term of reference (probing the chief minister’s role in the violence).

PK Mishra: The former principal secretary to the chief minister and chief executive officer, Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA), was later appointed to the important post of additional secretary, ministry of home affairs, Gujarat. He was also sent on several foreign jaunts in his capacity as chief of the GSDMA. Mishra was rewarded for his services to political masters as dedicated collaborator in the chief minister’s anti-minority drive. PK Mishra is currently principal secretary in the department of agriculture and cooperation of the union ministry of agriculture under the Nationalist Congress Party’s Sharad Pawar.

AK Bhargava: Appointed DGP, Gujarat, in February 2004, Bhargava was allowed to hold the additional charge of MD, Gujarat State Police Housing Corporation Ltd., controlling an annual budget of Rs 200 crore. As DGP, he readily cooperated with the government in protecting the BJP’s political interests in the matter of review of about 2,000 riot related cases, the Pandharwada mass graves case, the harassment of upright officers, compliance with the government’s illegal directives, and so on.     

PC Pande: The former CP, Ahmedabad city, was inducted into the central government by the NDA in March 2004, to the prestigious post of additional director, CBI. Pande’s appointment to the CBI was challenged by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) in the Supreme Court and he was directed by the apex court not to have anything to do with the Gujarat cases. Pande was then transferred to the post of additional director-general of the Indo-Tibetan Border Security Force in October 2004. In April 2006 Pande was appointed to the post of DGP, Gujarat, after which a second approach to the Supreme Court by CJP has once again led the court to direct him not to be involved in the investigation of riot related cases. It is relevant to note that Pande’s appointments to these influential posts are rewards for his services in facilitating the massacre of nearly 1,000 persons in Ahmedabad city during the 2002 riots, 95 per cent of them Muslim, and for shielding the Hindu perpetrators from arrest during the investigation of riot cases.

Kuldeep Sharma: The former Range In-charge, IGP, Ahmedabad Range, was promoted to the post of ADGP (crime), Gandhinagar. Sharma was rewarded for facilitating riots in the rural areas of Ahmedabad Range (the districts of Ahmedabad Rural, Kheda and Anand). He has also not filed any affidavits before the Nanavati-Shah Commission.

Punishment: Interestingly, in July 2005 Sharma was shifted to the post of ADGP (training) for failing to book danseuse and social activist, Mallika Sarabhai, accused in a false case of cheating and other offences, and for failing to protect a minister in the Modi cabinet – Prabhatsinh Chauhan – involved in a case of criminal misappropriation.     

MK Tandon: The former Joint CP, Ahmedabad city, was transferred to the "lucrative" Surat Range post in May 2002 and later promoted to the post of ADGP, Gandhinagar. In July 2005 Tandon was appointed to the post of ADGP (law & order) at the state police headquarters, a position with statewide jurisdiction. Tandon was rewarded for his services in facilitating the carnages at Gulberg Society, Naroda Patiya and elsewhere in Ahmedabad city where hundreds of Muslims were killed during the riots in 2002.  

Deepak Swaroop: The former Range Officer, Vadodara Range (covering the districts of Vadodara Rural, Godhra, Dahod and Narmada), was appointed CP, Vadodara, in February 2005. In charge of an area that witnessed ghastly incidents of violence in 2002, Swaroop is noted for his sustained inaction in the face of marauding mobs. He also narrowly escaped reprimand for concealing facts vis-à-vis investigation into the Best Bakery case by sessions judge, Abhay Thipsay, during the retrial of the case in Mumbai.

K. Nityanandam: The former home secretary was promoted to the post of CP, Rajkot city, in February 2005, a promotion effected by upgrading the post by two levels, from DIG to ADGP. Nityanandam was rewarded for his services as home secretary from 2001 to 2005, in particular for manipulating statistics and fabricating and drafting pro-government reports that were submitted to the NHRC and the courts.

Rakesh Asthana: Although a junior IG, Asthana was appointed to the post of IGP of the important Vadodara Range in April 2003. He was rewarded for zealously pursuing the government’s conspiracy theory with regard to the Godhra incident in his capacity as head of the Special Investigation Team probing the Godhra train arson. 

AK Sharma: The former SP, Mehsana, was appointed to the post of IGP, Ahmedabad Range, an important jurisdiction, an appointment that was achieved by downgrading the post. In early December 2002, prior to the Gujarat assembly elections, AK Sharma was removed from the post of SP, Mehsana, under instructions from the election commission who believed his presence would not be conducive to the conduct of free and fair elections in the district. He was however reinstated as SP later that month. Sharma was rewarded for his services during the riots of 2002. It was under Sharma’s jurisdiction that Mehsana district witnessed gruesome incidents of mass carnage, including the massacre at Sardarpura.    

Shivanand Jha: The former Addl. CP, Ahmedabad city, was appointed home secretary in February 2005. As Addl. CP, Jha headed the team that assaulted representatives of the media and social activists – including Narmada Bachao Andolan leader, Medha Patkar – at a peace meeting in Ahmedabad in April 2002. He was then transferred to the post of DIG (armed units), Rajkot, an appointment achieved by downgrading the post. Jha was rewarded in view of his services during the 2002 riots and for making no adverse revelations about the government before the Nanavati-Shah Commission. As home secretary, Jha is currently handling the preparation of reports defending the government in all matters relating to the 2002 riots and subsequent developments, to be presented to the courts and other bodies.

Sudhir K. Sinha: The former CP, Vadodara city, from June 2003, was appointed CP, Surat city, in February 2005, a post that many consider the most "profitable" one in the Gujarat police. Sinha was rewarded for his services in turning the key prosecution witness in the Best Bakery case, Zahira Shaikh, hostile, an event that occurred during his tenure as CP, Vadodara city.  

DG Vanzara: Appointed DIG, Anti-Terrorism Squad, in July 2005, Vanzara’s appointment was effected by downgrading the post from the level of IGP to DIGP. He was rewarded for ‘eliminating’ several Muslims in so-called police encounters during his tenure as DCP, Ahmedabad Crime Branch, from May 2002 to July 2005. Vanzara is currently in jail for his involvement in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

Subservience of the IPS association 
  1. The terror instilled in the minds of the Gujarat bureaucracy is evident in the fact that the IPS association’s Gujarat unit did not dare to convene a meeting until about three years after the genocide. A meeting of the IPS association’s Gujarat unit was finally convened in August 2005 with an aim to install a pro-government group of officers as office bearers. A campaign was launched to install DG Vanzara as secretary (the main functionary in the association) without holding any elections at all. Fortunately, however, elections were held and DIGP Satish Verma defeated Vanzara by a margin of 13 votes (Verma won 31 votes while Vanzara won 18).   
  2. The Gujarat police force has about 8,000 vacancies at the constabulary level and about 950 vacancies at the level of police sub-inspector (PSI). These vacancies are in crucial functional posts. The inadequacy of trained and skilled human resources has had damaging effects on the efficiency, dedication and professionalism of the Gujarat police even as it undermines the quality of service delivered to the people. Overworked and under tremendous stress, the policemen at the constabulary and PSI level take the line of least resistance in matters of policing vis-à-vis the interests of the ruling BJP. Submitting to illegal directives from leaders of the ruling party is the only way they can survive.
  3. As part of a so-called economy measure, the state government has introduced a new cadre of "Lok Rakshaks" under which persons are hired for policing (eventually to replace the constabulary) at a meagre Rs 2,500 per month. A group of senior citizens headed by former DGP, PB Malia, has filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court asking that the scheme be declared illegal.

Archived from Communalism Combat, July 2007 Year 13    No.124, Genocide's Aftermath Part II, State Complicity 3



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