Two senior police officers posted in Gujarat during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots have submitted to the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) the details of strong “anti-Muslim bias” in the state government.
In their affidavits, R.B. Sreekumar, a former additional director general of police (ADGP) who was in-charge of the state Intelligence Bureau during the riots, and Rahul Sharma, the then Bhavnagar Superintendent of Police, questioned the impartiality of the administration.
The SIT on Thursday submitted to the SC its report on the status of probe in the 10 major riots cases it is re-investigating.
“The Chief Minister summoned me to his chamber on May 7, 2002, and instructed me not to concentrate on Sangh Parivar, as its members were not doing anything illegal. He asked me to concentrate on Muslim militants, and get data on Amanpath, suspected to be a Muslim group,” Sreekumar said in his affidavit. Narendra Modi was the CM then.
The government refused to respond to Sreekumar’s allegation. “Such absurd statements do not merit a response. He is anyway a biased officer who joined Teesta Setalwad's organisation after retirement,” said a senior official, who didn’t wish to be identified.
“K.P.S. Gill, the adviser to the Chief Minister, had told state police chief K. Chakravarthy not to reform the politicians — meaning thereby, not to take any action against the VHP and Bajrang Dal. The adviser also wanted the police to vacate the riot victims living in the relief camps, exhibiting a clear anti-Muslim bias,” Sreekumar said in his affidavit.
Sreekumar told HT he was willing to be cross-examined. “Why are they not cross-examining me on… what I have stated on oath in the affidavits," he said, hinting at more damning facts against the government.
Sharma, who is a Deputy Inspector General, CBI, in Mumbai, said: "Minister of State for Home Gordhan Zadaphia had contacted me and said the ratio of deaths as a result of police firing was not proper. What I understood was that, he was complaining about more number of deaths of Hindus as compared to Muslims in Bhavnagar city."
In his affidavit, Sharma said a large part of the police records related to riots had been destroyed and “it was on my own conscience that I managed to submit to the investigating agencies what I could protect”.
Interestingly, Sreekumar and Sharma both faced the wrath of the Modi government for not toeing the “official line”. Sreekumar, who retired in February, was chargesheeted in 2005, for leaking intelligence reports. Last year, the Ahmedabad bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal quashed the government order and directed payment of all dues to him and slammed the government for denying him a promotion.
Sharma was shunted out of Bhavnagar within days of his talk with Zadaphia to an insignificant position in the Ahmedabad Control Room.