Monday, May 9, 2011

Gujarat Riots: Modi, Sanjiv Bhatt and Congress – Who is the real villain?

By - Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

The murky tussle between Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt is getting more and more attention in the media.Dismissing allegations levelled against him by senior IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt over the Gujarat riots, chief minister Narendra Modi blamed opponents for trying to defame him. Speaking at the culmination of Gujarat’s golden jubilee celebrations in Ahmedabad, Mr Modi, in a veiled reference to the Opposition, said that he would not bow down to forces which were trying to malign him. “Every constitutional authority in this country is being misused to carry out opression on me…let them try to do that. I would budge and not bow down to these forces…You try and target Modi but you have been doing this during the state’s golden jubilee celebrations….in this celebration year, these forces rather than contributing to the development of the state have been working against it.” Mr Modi said. It’s quite amazing and disturbing that till now there were allegations of all sorts on Modi but now even the SIT is under the scanner. It’s difficult to understand, how we can allege someone like Modi, we can mistrust an independent agency of the stature of SIT and give so much weightage to people like Sanjiv Bhatt Sanjiv Bhatt’s character too is unfolding gradually. There are reports that his career and conduct have been questionable since years. There have been many departmental inquiries against him and even a criminal case for beating someone to death!!! And for the so called intelligentsia, many inquiries are before 2002. Too much is being read in to the affidavit and media hype of Sanjiv Bhatt, who has been sleeping all through the last nine years of the incidents of riots. Neither he opted to file any affidavit before the Justice Nanvati Inquiry Commission, nor he provided any such information as being allegedly disclosed now to his superior Officer namely RB Shreekumar Adl. DGP in charge of Intelligence, when he filed affidavit before the Nanvati Inquiry Commission.

Yet, the controversial officer has now come out with a theory that he had attended the meeting on 27-02-2002 when alleged illegal instructions were given by the Chief Minister. He has cited the support of a driver, who allegedly took him to the CM’s residence where the meeting took place. In fact the driver had been dismissed from the service long back for serious misconduct of forgery of certificates to obtain the driver’s job. It is strange that the statement of the disgruntled officer and the dismissed driver are being given such hype while ignoring the statements of other most senior Police and IAS officers who remained present during the meeting on 27th February 2002. Besides, it is also quite unfortunate that the so called intelligent people, who try to allege the Gujarat government for not divulging records, in their blogs & panel discussion on TV channels, have missed one thing that when a junior officer attends any such high level meeting, as per procedure he is supposed to put up the proceedings/ notes before the superior officer about the deliberations. The Intelligence Manual requires that such things are brought to the notice of senior officer in writing. It is difficult to imagine why Sanjiv Bhatt did not do so at the relevant time. In fact, he was posted as DCI (Security) who is supposed to look after intelligence on VIP security and security to vital installations etc. only. Another DCI was there to look after law& order and communal matters. Sanjiv Bhatt had never been provided “y” category security by the government. There is a procedure to assess threat perception of a person where a committee consisting of the Home Secretary, Additional DGP (Intelligence) and the Joint Director of the Central IB consider the category of the security cover required for a person and on this recommendation such security is provided by the government. No such recommendation has ever been made for Sanjiv Bhatt. Further, on the reference of the SIT appointed by the Supreme Court, the Home Secretary wrote to the DGP to look in to the security cover for Sanjiv Bhatt.

The DGP provided appropriate security to him.The allegation that the government has withdrawn his security is false and baseless.Sanjiv Bhatt is trying to create false impression deliberately to cover up his misconduct of keeping personnel from Juanagadh at his residence at Ahmedabad. It may be mentioned that Sanjiv Bhatt has been in the habit of keeping more personnel at his residence in excess of the orderlies entitled. There had been such instances when he was posted at Banaskantha and at Rajkot earlier. Show cause notices were also issued at the relevant time. At present he has been posted at Junagadh SRP training School where he has joined and went on leave. Currently he is on sick leave on account of his mother’s alleged ill health. Yet he has been keeping the personnel from Junagadh and the vehicle allotted to him at Ahmedabad on the pretext that the SIT would call him anytime for deposition. Though the SIT has already recorded his statement yet he is claiming this privilege. Besides, an officer can appear in any forum from his place of posting for which one need not to remain present at the location where he chooses to place himself.

It may be mentioned that Sanjeev Bhatt is an IPS officer of 1988 batch belonging to Gujarat cadre, whose career since the beginning of his service has remained controversial. He is facing several departmental proceedings and criminal cases of serious nature. Often he has been taking undue advantage of the government citing different arguments of his actions of omission and commission as part of his duty. However, many departmental inquiries could not be settled and the criminal cases against him are still pending for which he ahs been trying to get favour from the government. Even he has not been promoted as IGP though his batch mates have been promoted long back. He was posted in as ASP Jamnagar district when there was an agitation at Khamabliya. It was reported that he committed excessive use of power and clamping of draconian provisions of TADA on some of the protestors.

Police (ASP) in Jamnagar district was marked with an incident of misuse of power resulting to death of a person. There was a private criminal complaint filed at Jamjodhpur Police station against him on 18-11-1990 by one Shri Amrutlal Madhavji Vaishnani. This case is still pending at Sessions Court at Kahambalia. A criminal complaint was filed in 1996 by one Sumer Singh Rajpurohit, an Advocate practicing at Pali, Rajasthan against Sanjiv Bhatt, the then SP, Banaskantha District. A criminal case was registered against Sanjiv Bhatt & others vide FIR No. 403/96 dtd. 18-11-1996 u/s 120B, 195, 196, 342, 347, 357, 365, 388, 458, 482 IPC and Sec. 58 (1) & 58 (2) of NDPS Act. After the investigation, a chargesheet was filed against Sanjiv Bhatt & others u/s 114, 120B, 323, 342, 348, 357, 365, 368, 388, 452, 201 & 482 IPC and Sec. 9, 17, 18, 29, 58 (1) & 58 (2) r/w Sec. 37 of NDPS Act in the Court of Special Judge, NDPS Act, Jodhpur, Rajasthan. It is mentioned that Sumer Singh Rajput was a tenant of sister of R.R. Jain, a sitting Judge of Gujarat High Court. To get the tenant evacuated for the rented premises, Sanjiv Bhatt, the then SP of Banaskanthe and his subordinate police officers planted more than 1kg of Narcotic drug in one room in a hotel at Palanpur, Gujarat, which was shown that the complainant was occupying the same while the complainant was at Pali, Rajasthan. The said complainant Advocate was abducted at midnight from Pali on the instructions of Sanjiv Bhatt by his subordinate police staff and brought him to Palanpur, anaskantha in Gujarat. The said advocate was pressurized by Sanjiv Bhatt and his subordinate police officers to vacate the said rented premises by threatening arrest under offence under NDPSAct. The advocate under pressure vacated the property.

Physical possession of the property was immediately handed over to sister of R.R. Jain, Judge of Gujarat High Court. Sanjiv Bhatt asked released Sumersingh Rajpurohit on 08-05-1996, after filing a report u/s 169 Cr.P.C., in which it was stated that Sumer Singh could not be identified in the Test Identification Parade. Applications were filed for quashing the criminal complaint filed in Pali at Gujarat and Rajasthan High Court. But the petitions have been dismissed and the criminal case is still pending. Also, the Gujarat Vigilance Commission had recommended twice on 15-07-2002 and 19-10-2006for suspension of Sanjiv Bhatt for his professional misconducts. His stint as Assistant Superintendent of The Secretary, Bar Association, Pali (Rajasthan) made a complaint before the National Human Rights Commission. The Commission considering the serious human right violation by its order dated 15-09-2010 directed the State Govt. of Gujarat to pay a sum of Rs. One lakh as monetary relief to Sumer Singh, advocate, Pali. The Gujarat government issued order dated 23-12-2010 as per the direction of the NHRC to pay the amount. A cheque was issued on 25-01-2011 in favour of S.C. Rajpurohit. Since the criminal proceeding is pending against him and as one charge sheet has been issued to him, he has grievances against the state government. He has been trying to get these issues settled and get his overdue promotion as IGP. It would be amply clear from the above details that the entire service career of Sanjiv Bhatt has remained controversial and wherever he has been posted, controversies have followed him. He has many issues which are to be settled with government like the pending departmental inquiry, criminal cases and the current posting where he has joined and currently on unsanctioned sick leave to settle. The ulterior motive behind his recent demeanor becomes quite clear with these details.

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at or on his cell 09228746770]

Friday, May 6, 2011

Madhya Pradesh: Shadows of Hindu Rashtra

By Ram Puniyani

Madhya Pradesh is being ruled by the BJP Government from last several years. This is one state where BJP and its erstwhile avatar, Bhartiya Jansangh had a good deal of following in the past also. During last few years one has seen with the BJP Government in the saddle, the state is imposing the norms which are intimidating to minorities, the BJP associates have become more assertive, state is promoting the outright Hindu culture, and it is also the place where the terror component of RSS affiliates has been having its dens at various places in the state.

Recently (March 2011) the police stations got a circular from the head office which required them to collect the information about Christian minorities. This information pertained to various facets of social life of the community. The order candidly sought information about Christians of all denominations such as number of priests, bishops, schools, institutions, political patronage, Christians with criminal antecedents, economic sources, among many other things. When one priest refused to divulge the information, meant to profile the community, he was taken to police station.

When the community leaders took the matter with the top police officers, they expressed their ignorance, and it seemed like the case of ‘No One Killed Jessica Lall’, as if no one has issued the circular, or the one who issued this illegal circular is being shielded. With this the subtle ways of operation by the RSS controlled state mechanism became clear. With BJP government in the seat of power the RSS associates have become much more dominant and there are activities, which begin as ‘religious’ one and end up being hateful to minorities the way the events are tilted and given shape by those controlling these organizations.

This is one state where the RSS has been very active in the Adivasi areas. Like in case of Gujarat, on the pretext that ‘Christian missionaries are converting’ many acts of violence have been taking place in these areas. One recalls the rape of nuns in Jhabua, followed by the comment by ‘B.L. Sharma Prem’ from RSS stable, who proudly boasted that the rape of nuns is the act of nationalism. In the same areas the followers of Asaram Bapu have been very active, spreading venom against the minorities.

Pursuing this line of action, they had earlier also organized meetings in Adivasi areas, now this agenda got culminated in the organization of Narmada Samajik Kumbh (Feb 2011), on the lines of Shabri Kumbh in the Dangs of Gujarat. These Kumbhs have been creating an atmosphere of fear and insecurity amongst Christians in particular and in these events they undertake the “Ghar Vapasi” (Returning Home), which in real sense means the conversion of Adivasis, to Hinduism under direct or indirect pressure. Now these efforts are totally being backed up by the facilities from the state Government.

There is a plethora of anti Minority literature which is distributed en masse. Such intervention in Adivasi areas is dampening the educational and health welfare work of Missionaries in the Adivasi areas. With this Government in power, the Muslim minorities were clearly told that MP is not going to implement Sachar Committee report. Rather than seeing it as a necessary affirmative action for the poor Muslims, it is being projected in the divisive communal language. Going against the spirit of Indian Constitution, the MP Chief Minister has given a call to the Government servants to join RSS, while being on the active service.

One recalls in Gujarat similar call was given by Narendra Modi. At that time Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime minister and he felt so embarrassed by this move that he insisted upon the state Government to withdraw the circular permitting state employees to join the RSS. As such it is RSS trained and coordinated Swayamsevaks, who not only work in BJP, in the important positions of power but they also manipulate politics in more ways than one.

To argue that RSS is not a political organization is factually wrong as RSS has a political agenda of Hindu Rashtra, which it operates through multiple progeny. So while the Government servants are barred to join politics, MP government is openly flaunting this norm. In Gujarat one witnessed the advent of Hindu Rashtra through massive anti Muslim violence backed up by cultural manipulation. In MP the cultural instance is more dominant and visible. Hindu terminologies are being picked up for every instance and implemented.

For School teachers the term coined was Rishi, as in ancient India, it was Rishis committed to giving knowledge. Interestingly, Rishi is a masculine gender, so the large number of women teachers is out of this ambit. And more interestingly these Rishis were lathicharged when they came together to demand for implementation of better pay scales. M.P. has also been the place where the Hindutva terror groups got a good shelter, safe heaven for them. People like Sunil Joshi, Pragya Singh Thakur, Kalsangra, Devendra Sharma, Sandeep Dange and others could operate comfortably due their saffron association in a BJP ruled state.

State has been totally insensitive to the feelings of minorities and all its schemes have been named in the Hindu terminology, Girls welfare scheme: Ladli Laxmi, Child Nutrition program: Anna Prashan, Water Harvesting: Jalabhishek are just few of the names of state government schemes currently in operation in the state. Similarly the schools have been made to start Surya Namaskar, (Sun Worship), a sort of exercise-worship routine from the Hindu mythology. The state officials openly participate in Arms Worship (Shastra Puja) a ritual on Dussehra festival. In this worship, the Guns and weapons from police department are freely used. This taking out arms from armed police must be regarded as a serious violation of law.

Yoga too was initially introduced as a compulsory discipline. Now it is optional, but then with majority Hindus opting for it, the minority children do feel left out. State has showered the gift of land to various trusts formed by RSS associates. Recently one donation of large plot of land to Kushabhau Thackeray (the founder of RSS-BJP activities in the state) trust has been quashed by the Court, but such instances abound.

Madhya Pradesh Government is combining subtle and overt intimidation along with cultural manipulation to Hindutvize the state. The minorities are feeling marginalized and insecure due to the atmosphere created by the state machinery and RSS affiliates. After Gujarat, many a states are vying for emulating its model; Madhya Pradesh already seems to be way ahead!