'Narendra Modi involved in Godhra'
Ahmedabad: Senior Gujarat police officer Sanjiv Bhatt has blamed Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the 2002 "communal carnage", saying he wanted Muslims to be taught "a lesson" for the train burning in Godhra that left 59 Hindus dead.
In a scathing attack on Modi, Bhatt also said in an affidavit to the Supreme Court that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by the apex court seemed uninterested in unravelling the larger conspiracy behind the 2002 violence that swept Gujarat.
"This time the situation warranted that the Muslims be taught a lesson to ensure that such incidents do not recur ever again," Bhatt quoted the chief minister as saying at a meeting held on the evening of Feb 27, 2002 as news of the Godhra incident spread.
"The chief minister expressed the view that the emotions were running very high among the Hindus and it was imperative that they be allowed to vent out their anger," said the affidavit, made available to the media Friday.
Modi reportedly made these remarks when he was told that bringing bodies of the Godhra victims -- mostly Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists -- to Ahmedabad would only inflame passions. The VHP members were retunring from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
Bhatt, now principal of the State Reserve Police Centre in Junagarh, said following Modi's explicit directions, the police became complacent while dealing with rampaging mobs. The riots lasted weeks and left at least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead.
"The effects of these directions given by the chief minister were widely manifest in the half hearted approach and the evident lack of determination on the part of the police while dealing with the widespread incidents of orchestrated violence (from Feb 28, 2002)."