Tuesday, 3 May 2016

2016-02-05 'Facts of a carnage' by A. G. Noorani


"Facts of a carnage"

BY A.G. NOORANI
An important addition to the documentation of the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, the book deserves a wide readership. 
THE author, R.B. Sreekumar, served with distinction as an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Gujarat cadre. A Keralite, he was respected for his ability and integrity. He was Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) of Gujarat from April 9, 2002, to September 18, 2002. He was penalised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Narendra Modi for his truthful reports. He was a witness to the subversion of the criminal justice system. The courts gave him relief and he was promoted to the rank of DGP after his superannuation.
Gujarat is an important addition to the documentation of the 2002 pogrom after the Godhra outrage on February 27, 2002, in which 58 kar sevaks, who were returning from Ayodhya, died.
The book comprises Sreekumar’s reliable personal testimony and references to documents.
“On 28 February 2002 forenoon, I was on my way to office in [the] State Police Headquarters at Gandhinagar from [my] residence in Ahmedabad city. …I found bandh supporters freely moving on [the] road equipped with sticks, shouting anti-Muslim slogans, burning tyres and waste material right on the roads, and so on. They were forcing the commercial establishments, including pan shops and street vendors, to close down their business, in [the] presence of inactive and unresponsive policemen.”
Sreekumar met the DGP, K. Chakravorti, who “hinted that the Chief Minister had convened a meeting of senior officers at his residence after his return from Godhra in the late evening of 27th February 2002. The DGP said the CM told the officers in the meeting that ‘in communal riots, the police normally take action against Hindus and Muslims on one-to-one proportion; this will not do now, allow Hindus to give vent to their anger’.”

Anonymous notes
The author prepared anonymous notes on the behaviour of the police positioned in sensitive areas “acting as facilitators to rioters, higher number of persons from victim community getting killed in police firing and riots, belligerent mobs shouting about police abetment to their crimes”. The author sent a report titled “An Analytical Note on Current Communal Scenario in Ahmedabad City” to Additional Chief Secretary Ashok Narayan and the DGP on April 24, 2002.

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