Gujarat withdraws security to Sanjiv Bhatt

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Bhatt had said that Narendra Modi asked the police to let the Hindus vent their anger after Godhra

Arpit Parashar
New Delhi

The Gujarat government has decided to withdraw the existing security cover of whistleblower IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt rather than heed to his request for more security for him and his family.

The decision has come barely a week after Bhatt filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying he feared for his security. He claimed that the Special Investigating Team (SIT) of the Gujarat Police, set up by the Supreme Court to look into the riots, is working hand-in-glove with the Gujarat government and complained that the SIT leaked his testimony to the Gujarat government.

The order to withdraw security has come from the state’s Director General of Police Chitranjan Singh.

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Download DGP Sreekumar’s letter to SIT demanding Bhatt’s security

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Tehelka had scooped Bhatt’s disclosures made before the SIT two months ago. “In the first week of March, after the Tehelka story (appeared), there was an assessment done on the threat to me and my family by the SIB (State Intelligence Bureau) and then later by the Ahmedabad Police Commissioner. Both have recommended at least Y-category security cover for me and my family,” Bhatt said.

A Y-category security arrangement comprises a team of 11, including seven armed men, to guard the house. The SIB had pointed to the threat Bhatt faced in view of his disclosures.

Since no decision was taken on his security, Bhatt made his own security arrangement at his residence, using men drawn from the SRPTC, where he is currently posted as the principal.

But he will now have a lone policeman guarding him. “Yesterday (28 April), the DGP issued orders asking all the five constables from the SRPTC (State Reserve Police Training College) deployed with us as a makeshift security arrangement for me and my family, to report back to Junagadh,” Bhatt said.

Fearing that Bhatt could be victimised after he filed the affidavit in the Supreme Court, former additional DGP RB Sreekumar had recently written to the SIT asking them to provide effective security to Bhatt.

Bhatt has now written to the DGP against the decision and sent copies of the letter to the Supreme Court and the Nanavati Commission.

Bhatt is to depose before the Nanavati Commission, which is probing the Godhra riots, on 16 May regarding his revelations about Narendra Modi. Bhatt had said in his affidavit that Modi asked the police to “let Hindus vent out their anger” in a high-level security meet on 27 February 2002. The commission has called him for clarifications on certain revelations made in the affidavit.

Also, the hearing of an application demanding his cross-examination is scheduled for 2 May. Civil rights organisation Jan Sangharsh Manch had filed an application before the commission seeking his cross-examination so that material evidence could come on record, on the basis of which the commission can summon Modi for questioning.

“The bandh call has already been given, and the party has decided to support it, as incidents like the burning of kar sevaks in Godhra cannot be tolerated,” Modi said in the high-level meeting held on 27 February 2002, Bhatt has claimed in his affidavit submitted in the SC.

Modi further impressed upon the gathering that for far too long the Gujarat Police had been following the principle of balancing the actions against Hindus and Muslims while dealing with communal riots in Gujarat.

Bhatt quoted Modi as saying, “This time the situation warrants that the Muslims are taught a lesson to ensure that such incidents do not occur ever again.” Modi said that emotions were running very high among the Hindus and it was imperative that they be allowed to “vent out their anger”.

Arpit Parashar is a Senior Correspondent with Tehelka.com.
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