Fact: Even though the situation was terrible, the police performed its work extremely efficiently. The police force was woefully insufficient. Uday Mahurkar reports for India Today (18 March 2002):
“Ahmedabad has a police force of 6,000, including 1,500 armed personnel. In addition, the entire state has just four companies (530 jawans) of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) of which only one company could be spared for Ahmedabad. Considering that the mobs that simultaneously surfaced at nearly half a dozen places numbered from 2,000 to 10,000, the forces proved woefully inadequate. At one point on February 28 there were at least 25,000 people targeting the Muslim localities in Ahmedabad alone.”
Even in its infamous article misquoting Narendra Modi as having said “Every action has equal and opposite reaction” (Which Narendra Modi never did), The Times of India reported, “The sparse police presence looked like a drop in the ocean of violence.” This despite the deployment of the entire police force. The Hindu also reported the next day that on 28 February “Mob fury reached its crescendo” and “The situation seemed to slip out of hand” and “Police were outnumbered by the rioters“. Same was the report of The Telegraph, The Tribune. The Times of India reported on 2nd March 2002 on events on 1st March (Friday)- “Neither the Army nor the shoot-at-sight orders given to Gujarat Police could stop riots on Friday 1st March…” And this was on 1st March 2002 when the violence was much less than 28 Feb (Thursday). If even the Army and shoot-at-sight orders couldn’t stop the violence when it was much less, then what must have been the situation on 28 Feb when the Army was not present in the day and the violence was much more?
Despite this, the police fired more than 3,900 rounds in the first three days alone and fired 6500 rounds of tear gas shells. (Despite the presence of the Army for 2 out of 3 days ). As many as 98 people were shot dead by the police in the first three days, majority of whom are Hindus. For the complete period of rioting, despite the presence of the Army for 73 out of 74 days, the police fired as many 15,000 tear gas shells, and a total of 10,500 rounds. Out of the total people killed in the riots, about 20 % have been shot dead by the police.
Infact- the encyclopaedia wikipedia reports-based on sound sources-that as many as 200 policemen laid their lives trying to quell the violence during the riots.
Out of the 25,486 accused, the Gujarat police arrested as many as 25,204 people. This clearly shows the efficiency of the Gujarat police. On March 1st and 2nd and afterwards, Muslims too rioted and they too were killed in police firing.
The Gujarat police saved as many as 2,500 Muslims in Sanjeli, a town in North Gujarat, 5,000 Muslims in Bodeli, in Vadodara and about 10,000 Muslims in Viramgam. A total of about 24,000 Muslims were saved in the first three days alone. Police officials themselves suffered injuries in trying to save the Muslims, as reported by the weekly India Today.
The steps taken to control the violence were-
1-The Indian Express dated 28th February 2002 reported that the State Government had deployed the Rapid Action Force in Ahmedabad and other sensitive areas and the Centre sent in CRPF personnel on February 27 itself even before a single riot had taken place. This was also reported by Mid Day dated 28 February and also The Times of India.
This is mentioned in 3rd catagory- 7th paragraph
2- The Hindu reported in its issue dated 28th February 2002 that “Shoot-at-sight” orders had been given in Godhra on February 27 itself. And so did ALL the English dailies that day. Also read the sentence ” the state government has appealed to the people to maintain peace.”
3-The Hindustan Times reported in its issue dated 28 February 2002 that the entire police force of 70,000 was deployed in Gujarat on 27 February itself after the shocking massacre in Godhra- in view of apprehensions that riots might break out. This was also reported by British daily The Telegraph the same day.
See second last paragraph of this report.
4-827 preventive arrests were made on the evening of February 27 itself on Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s orders on his return to Ahmedabad from Godhra. This was reported by weekly India Today dated 18 March 2002 which did not give the number (827 arrests) but mentioned preventive arrests.
5-On February 28 -despite the deployment of the entire police force, the CRPF personnel and the Rapid Action Force-the situation slipped out of control, according to The Hindu dated 1st March 2002.
6-Despite the fact that the situation slipped out of control, the mob sizes were unprecedented and the police were overwhelmingly outnumbered, the police did its best. The police fired more than 1,000 rounds on the first day of the riots-i.e. February 28.
Link: Same as Number 5’s link- but this doesn’t mention 1000 rounds which were fired that day- including 600 in Ahmedabad.
7-The Hindu reported in its issue dated 1st March 2002 that at least 10 persons were believed to have been killed in police firing in Ahmedabad alone by evening of February 28. ( Same link as number 5, paragraphs 2 and 9 from the top).
5 Hindus were shot dead outside Ehsan Jafri’s house on Feb 28, according to India Today weekly dated 18 March 2002 and also from The Times of India‘s online report on 28 February.
8-Curfew was clamped in Godhra on 27 February itself-as reported by The Hindu dated 28 February 2002. Also reported by all English dailies- such as Times of India, dated 28 Feb.
9-An indefinite curfew was clamped in 26 cities and towns in the State, including parts of Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroda, Rajkot, Nadiad, Anand and Kaira on February 28 in addition to the indefinite curfew in force in Godhra since February 27-according to The Hindu dated 1st March 2002- and every English daily the next day and also weeklies- like India Today– which covered events till Feb 28 in its issue dated 11 March 2002.
10- The Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, frantically called the Army units to Ahmedabad on February 28-as reported by the The Hindu dated 1st March 2002.
See 8th paragraph from the top.
11-The Indian Express and The Hindu both reported that Army units started arriving in Ahmedabad on the night of February 28-in their issues the next day-i.e. 1st March 2002. This shows that the Army units reached Ahmedabad so quickly-that the newspapers had the time to report their arrival on February 28 itself itself and publish it on 1st March!
(Same link as number 5- 8th paragraph from the top)
12-The Army staged a flag march in Ahmedabad on 1st March 2002 at 11:30 AM-as reported by weekly India Today in its issue dated 18th March 2002. The Hindu and The Indian Express and all major dailies also reported that the Army staged flag marches in Ahmedabad and also Vadodara on 1st March 2002.
13-The Army began flag marches in the worst-affected areas of Ahmedabad, Baroda, Rajkot and Godhra cities and the `shoot at sight’ order was extended to all 34 curfew-bound cities and towns in Gujarat on 1st March 2002-as per The Hindu dated 2nd March 2002.
14-The Gujarat police fired a total of around 4,000 rounds in the first three days alone. This-despite the presence of the Army for 2 out of the 3 days. The police also arrested more than 4,000 people in the first 3 days alone, majority of whom are Hindus. As on 6 May 2002 35,000 people had been arrested for rioting by the police- the highest ever in Gujarat, not even in 1969 and 1985 were so many arrested. On 28 April 2002 The Times of India reported that 9954 Hindus and 4035 Muslims were arrested by police as substantive arrests and 17947 Hindus and 3616 Muslims were arrested as a preventive measure. This gives a total of 27,901 Hindus and 7651 Muslims arrested as on 28 April 2002, a total of 35,552 arrests- the highest ever in Gujarat.
15-The Gujarat police shot dead 98 people in the first three days, majority of whom are Hindus.
16-The Hindu reported in its issue dated 4th March 2002 that only 2 deaths were reported on 3rd March in the entire state and the violence has ended on 3rd March 2002. Thus the Gujarat government managed to control the situation in 3 days even after the shocking massacre in Godhra- while it took previous Congress governments 6 months to stop the riots in 1969 and 1985 even without any cause as Godhra.
In an interview given by Narendra Modi to Outlook magazine in its issue dated 18 March 2002–
“Were you playing the fiddle while Gujarat burned?
No. Contrary to what is now being projected, I brought sanity within 72 hours of the violent outbreak…”
Note Narendra Modi’s sentence “No. Contrary to what is now being projected, I brought sanity within 72 hours of the violent outbreak.” In other words, the projection against Modi started AFTER the riots. We have already seen the reports of the newspapers like The Hindu, The Telegraph to note that there were no allegations against Narendra Modi or the Gujarat Government at the time of the actual riots. They started much later. Doordarshan news said on 3rd March 2002 (Sunday) at night in the English bulletin: “Violence has ended in a record time in Ahmedabad…Only 3 days…In the past it would take many weeks… Today (Sunday) curfew was relaxed, people bought items from bazaar…”. No allegation against the state government but praise of controlling violence in just 3 days! All accusations on Narendra Modi and demands for his resignation, dismissal started AFTER the riots. This was because, the media wanted some scapegoat to be made for the riots. It wanted Modi to sack a few police officers, drop a minister or two. But Modi did nothing of the sort. He did not blame anyone, did not make anyone a scapegoat. In an interview to NDTV broadcast on 20 March 2004, Narendra Modi said to Shekhar Gupta (Editor of The Indian Express): “You all wanted that someone be made scapegoat. I did not do that. I allowed you to break all pots on my head alone. You have all decided, all these riots happened under this man (Narendra Modi). Until this man is removed from the Chief Minister’s post, we will not rest in peace. My best wishes to you in your mission.” Narendra Modi did not resign, and the BJP did not dismiss him, so the media was livid.
A must read article on the role of the Gujarat Government in controlling violence is:
(An article on some facts about the media can be read here “NDTV is CPM Today“. And another article which is worth reading is “The channels strategy of attacks”. Note that these articles are purely the view of the blogger and not of Gujaratriots.com )