Gujarat police officer implicates Modi in riots sacked

Sanjiv Bhatt dismissed after saying Narendra Modi directed top officers before 2002 pogrom to 'allow the Hindus to vent their anger' and 'teach a lesson' to Muslims as chief minister of Gujarat

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Mar 10, 2016

A senior police officer who had taken on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his alleged role in the anti-Muslim riots in 2002 has been sacked by the Gujarat government.

Sanjiv Bhatt was a senior police officer in the Gujarat intelligence bureau in 2002 and Modi was the chief minister when over 1,200 people, mostly Muslims, were massacred by Hindu mobs who used a train fire that killed 60 pilgrims as an excuse.

Sanjiv Bhatt was suspended in 2011 after filing a sworn statement in the Supreme Court accusing Mr. Modi of “complicity in the riots” and briefly arrested.

He said in his testimony that then chief minister Modi told top police officers in Gujarat the night before the pogrom that Hindus should be allowed to vent their anger and 'teach a lesson' to Muslim community following the attack on the train in Godhra.

He also accused the Special Investigation Team, which cleared Modi from all allegations, of trying to “cover up the larger conspiracy and official orchestration” behind the riots.

The authorities claims Bhatt "fabricating evidence to implicate Modi," while he says he came across large amounts of information and intelligence to support his case as a top police officer.

Bhatt was suspended for not being at work, for misusing his official car and for threatening a constable, accusations that he said were "politically motivated" due to his criticism of Modi.

He broke the news of his removal on social media and described the reasons for his sacking.

"The Government of the day has decided to remove me from service after conducting a sham, ex parte inquiry on completely fabricated charges of 'unauthorised absence from duty," he wrote on Facebook, adding the removal is related to his testimony on riots cases.

Modi, who is a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) youth member, has long been accused of inter-communal riots in his home state Gujarat, but has denied all claims.

The BJP and its right-wing allies, such as RSS, were accused of "violent attacks" by the US this year in a congressional report, also pointing out forced conversions by Hindu nationalists groups, after Modi became Prime Minister.

At least 4,000 Christian and 1,000 Muslim families “reconverted” to Hinduism in Uttar Pradesh as part of a so-called “ghar wapsi” (homecoming) programme in 2014. The report also said Muslim communities have been facing undue scrutiny, arbitrary arrests and detentions under the Modi government.

About a fifth of India's 1.27 billion people identify themselves as belonging to faiths other than Hinduism.

TRTWorld and agencies