R.B. SREEKUMAR IPS (Retd)
Former DGP, Gujarat
Plot No 193, Sector-8,
Tel ® 079-23247876
Sub: An appeal to direct Indian Army Authorities to submit report on operational duties performed by Army in Gujarat State during 2002 communal riots to probe bodies.
I belonged to 1971 batch of Indian Police Service (IPS) of Gujarat State cadre. I retired from service on 28 February 2007 in the rank of Director General of Police(DGP). Since my retirement, I am residing in Gandhinagar, Gujarat and providing free legal aid to victims of 2002 communal violence and those affected by human rights violations, as a lawyer.
2) I was Additional DGP ( Intelligence ) – ADGP(Int), in charge of the State Intelligence Branch(SIB) of Gujarat state from 9 April 2002 to 18 September 2002. I had submitted nine affidavits(660 pages) to Justice Nanavati Commission (JNC) and the Apex Court constituted Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Dr. RK Raghavan, former Director, CBI----four while in service and five after retirement. In these affidavits, I had presented substantial and solid evidence on the background, course and aftermath of 2002 communal violence in Gujarat. The data/evidence in my affidavits have comprehensively brought out,(1) the culpable role of the political and administrative bureaucracy and police, in Gujarat, in planning , organizing, mobilizing, facilitating , abetting and perpetration of anti-minority mass violence in 2002; (2) the subversion, manipulation and enfeeblement of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) of Gujarat State, to deny, delay and derail justice delivery to riot victims and also about;(3) the extra judicial killings (fake encounters) of 17 people by Gujarat Police, from Oct.2002 to April- 2007.
3) The State Govt and accused persons in riot cases could not prove any part of evidence presented by me as false. The riot victim survivors and NGOs like Citizens for Justice and Peace(CJP) had extensively utilized materials in my affidavits in their litigations to prove the guilt of the Chief Minister Narendra Modi, senior BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders and Govt. officials in the communal violence. Some of these cases are pending in the courts. Thanks to the close monitoring of riot-related cases by many of us, 116 rioters, including a former Gujarat State Minister had been convicted by courts, with life imprisonment and it is an unprecedented achievement in the history of prosecution of offenders responsible for anti-muslim violence in India, since 1947.
4) The state Govt. had appointed a Judicial Commission, Justice Nanavati Commission(JNC)-to probe into multifarious aspects of 2002 anti-minority carnage in Gujarat, in March 2002. The copies of two Notifications by the state Legal Dept(1) Dated 6th March 2002 and (2) Dated 20 July 2004, delineating terms of reference of probe by the JNC and Notification by the JNC dated 5th August 2004 “inviting persons acquainted with the subject matter of the enquiry to provide information on matters in the terms of reference to the JNC” are appended as Annexure – A,B, and C, respectively.
5) The riot victim survivors since 2010 had, repeatedly, complained to me about failure of the JNC and the SIT in getting evidence from Armed Forces, under the Ministry of Defence, (MOD) Govt. of India, deployed in Gujarat during 2002 riots, for assisting Civil and Police authorities in maintenance of law and order. I had submitted representation/affidavit, to the JNC and the SIT in this matter. The copy of this affidavit is appended as Annexure-D, for your kind perusal.
6) Reportedly, whenever and wherever Armed Forces are deployed, in aid to state authorities under sections 130, 131 and 132 of the Criminal Procedure Code(CRPC), the supervisory military officers scrupulously comply with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and do maintain documents, prescribed registers and records about (1) instructions and guidance received from the state authorities, mainly from officers in the departments of Executive Magistracy and State Police, on public order duties; (2) the area-specific and incident-specific procedure adopted by Armed Forces in their operations;(3) impact of Army action towards normalization of situation;(4) details of commendable work and deviant acts, if any , committed by Civil and Police authorities and Armed Forces and so on. Periodical mandatory reports about work done in cooperation and collaboration with the state authorities are sent to Army Head Quarters and MOD. These reports are quite relevant to the terms of reference to the JNC, as narrated in the enclosed Annexures-A, B, and C and cases investigated by the SIT. It is really quite imperative for the probe bodies to get and assess this germane evidence for deciding on the quality and merit in the action taken by state Govt. functionaries, in their public order duties, in the perspective of the Rule of law.
7) It is learnt that Major General Zahiruddin Shah, now Vice- Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University,(a relative of the famous actor Nassaruddin Shah), who was in charge of Army Units deployed in Gujarat during 2002 riots, had submitted comprehensive reports to his higher authorities and MOD about the operations done by Army, the policy, strategy, tactics and ground level methodology adopted by the state authorities, particularly, police and executive magistracy, in the course of their duties for containing communal riots.
8) Unfortunately, despite my specific representations to the JNC and the SIT, in my sixth affidavit dated 03 September 2010, (enclosed as annexure-D) for obtaining relevant evidence from Army authorities, relating to 2002 riots, both the JNC and the SIT had neither procured documents and reports from Army Head Quarters and MOD, nor the depositions of the relevant officers and personnel, who assisted Gujarat Police in normalization of public order, were obtained, so far. The JNC is yet to submit its report on all terms of reference by the state Govt. Similarly, the final Judicial verdict on SIT investigation on riot cases and complaint against the Chief Minister Narendra Modi by Smt. Zakia Jafri and Smt. Teesta Setalvad, is still awaited.
9) The Union Govt. as per stipulations in the Article 355 of the Constitution of India, is duty-bound “ to protect every state against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the Govt. of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.” The thrust, tone and tenor of the Gujarat state Govt. Notifications (Annexure-A and B) and the Notification by the JNC ( Annexure –C) expected that all state and central Govt. functionaries should submit proper evidence, regarding riots, in the form of documents, records and self–generated affidavits. But this vital and imperative statutory duty is not yet done by MOD and the concerned Army officers, who performed law and order duties during 2002 Gujarat riots, after their deployment, on requisition by the state Govt.
10) Moreover, in the individual capacity also Army officers are bound to provide relevant data and input to probe bodies like the JNC and the SIT, as per the Article 51A of the Constitution of India, which decreed thus “ It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions”. Further, the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952 guarantees blanket protection to all who provides truthful evidence “relevant to subject matter of the inquiry” to the Commission, as per section-6 of this Act. Therefore Army authorities would be committing serious dereliction of duty by not providing evidence to probe bodies on their performance of duties relating to maintenance of public order, during 2002 protracted communal riots in Gujarat.
11) The riot victim survivors and human rights activists often lamented that the state Govt. officials were forced to submit affidavits to the JNC and evidence to the SIT, as dictated, prepared, and tutored by state Govt. and its advocates. There is an instance( in 2004) of a senior officer-ADGP serving as ADGP (Intelligence), being intimidated and pressurized by state Home department officers and a Govt. advocate, to depose in favour of the state Govt. before the JNC (audio tape is available). Significantly, except three Senior IPS officers, no state Govt. functionary has come out with any incriminating evidence about numerous acts of omission and commission by the political and administrative executive and police officers and their delinquent acts had only facilitated anti-muslim genocide, enabling communal brigands to commit many gruesome crimes during communal disturbances, in 11 out of 30 police- administrative units in Gujarat.
12) So, devoid of evidence from MOD and Army authorities, who were deployed in Gujarat during riots, for assisting state Govt., the probe bodies, the Judiciary, the Media and the final and basic sovereigns of the Nation “ We the people”, would not know about the actual truth behind the occurrence of high voltage violence in one-third area of Gujarat state in 2002, enfeeblement of the CJS, sub-standard justice delivery to riot-affected and related matters.
13) In view of the above facts, I humbly request you for your kind personal intervention, for making Army authorities to provide, to probe bodies, (the JNC and the SIT), relevant and valid evidence and information about the prolonged communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 and thereby energize and strengthen the foundations of the Rule of law and fundamental ideals of the Constitution of India. The responsible Army officers, particularly, Major General Zahiruddin Shah, may kindly be directed to depose before the JNC and the SIT about their role during riots in Gujarat.
14) The Army Head Quarters and MOD may please be directed to submit copies of all reports and extracts of registers and records relating to Gujarat riots in their possession, especially, situation reports received from field officers about operational duties performed by Army as part of its functions towards “aid to civil authorities” during 2002 internal security crisis connected to communal riots in Gujarat.
15) I humbly request you to favour me with a reply on the follow up action by MOD on this representation by me.
Respected Shri A.K. Antonyji, Yours Faithfully
Ministry of Defence,
104 South Block, New Delhi-110001 (R.B. Sreekumar)
Copy with compliments to,
Respected Dr. Shrimati Kamalaji,
Her Excellency, The Governor of Gujarat,
Raj Bhavan, Gandhinagar-382020
With prayers for kind attention and initiating necessary action.