Home minister P Chidambaram on Friday said it was Gujarat government’s duty to ensure the security of senior police officer Sanjiv Bhatt who has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court against the role of chief minister Narendra Modi during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots.
“I think it is the duty of the state government to ensure his security and that no harm comes to him,” Chidambaram told reporters reacting to reports that Bhatt’s security had been removed.
Earlier in the day, Bhatt said state Director General of Police Chitranjan Singh had issued orders asking five constables deployed as a makeshift security arrangement for him and his family to leave. Meanwhile, a state police release claimed that an armed police commando had been deployed with Bhatt — currently posted as the principal of the State Reserve Police Training Centre, Junagadh — round the clock.
“His posting is in Junagadh but he has proceeded on an indefinite leave. He can get security cover at his office and residence in the training college,” the release stated.
Bhatt, who was posted in the state intelligence department during the 2002 riots, implicated Modi for instigating Hindus to “teach a lesson” to Muslims, following the Sabarmati Express carnage. Bhatt has stated in the affidavit that he attended a late night meeting convened by Modi on February 27, 2002 – after the Godhra train burning incident – where Modi had instructed officers to allow Hindus “to vent their anger”.
In a separate development, 60 eminent citizens, in a letter to Chidambaram, have pointed out that SC’s witness protection rules entitled Bhatt to security.
Led by former naval chief admiral Ramdas, film personalities Mahesh Bhatt and Sharmila Tagore, CPI MP D Raja, historian Irfan Habib and the National Advisory Council member Harsh Mander, the group has sought the Centre’s intervention in the matter.