Posted on September 6, 2008 - Filed Under 11- Tehelka lies | 34 Comments
The website www.rediff.com reported on 25 October 2007-
“Gujarat riots a genocide; Modi sanctioned it: Tehelka
Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Investigative weekly Tehelka on Thursday claimed to have unraveled the truth behind the 2002 Gujarat riots.Tehelka claimed it had ‘irrefutable’ evidence that the killings of Muslims post-Godhra train carnage in Gujarat was ‘not a spontaneous swell of anger but a genocide’ planned and executed by top functionaries of the Sangh Parivar and state authorities ‘with the sanction’ of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Tehelka Editor-in-Chief Tarun Tejpal claimed that the magazine had carried out a sting operation over the last six months by talking to a number of Sangh Parivar leaders, including Godhra BJP MLA Haresh Bhatt, Shiv Sena leader Babu Bajrangi, who was earlier in the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and VHP leaders Anil Patel and Dhawal Jayanti Patel, to bring out the truth.
“We have evidence that bombs were being made in the VHP office premises,” Harinder Baweja, Editor (Investigations), told rediff.com.
Party spokesman Prakash Javedekar said the ‘dirty tricks department’ of the Congress was at work again in view of the assembly elections in Gujarat.
None of the leaders caught on camera in the expose was available for comments, except Gujarat VHP leader Dhawal Jayanti Patel who said Bajrangi had not talked to him during the riots and that he had not seen the sting operation.
Bhatt was purportedly caught on tape saying he was present in a meeting in which Modi allegedly gave him three days time ‘to do whatever they wanted.’”After three days, he (Modi) asked to stop and everything came to a halt,” Bhatt said, adding that the chief minister thanked them after the Naroda Patiya massacre.
The magazine claimed that Dhawal Jayanti Patel told its undercover reporter that the VHP activists made lots of bombs in a factory owned by him. A BJP MLA was shown as saying they even made rocket launchers, which were used in the pogrom.
It also claimed that it has exposed ‘a trail of lies and coercions’ that establishes the fire in coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express in Godhra on February 27, 2002 was a case of spontaneous mob fury and not a pre-meditated conspiracy as stated by the Gujarat government.
Tarun Tejpal, editor of the weekly Tehelka wrote in Tehelka Magazine, Vol 4, Issue 44, Dated Nov 17, 2007-
“…This time — with our investigation into the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 — the conspiracy-seekers scaled new heights. While the BJP attacked us for working for the Congress, the Congress spread the word that we were working for the BJP! Clearly we were doing something right. In all this the battle for the idea of India was left to Laloo Yadav, Mayawati and the Left. The Congress one presumes knows the phrase — since its forebears literally coined it — but they can’t anymore seem to remember what it means.
It’s extraordinary that more than a week after the Gujarat massacre exposé, the prime minister and the home minister had not made a single statement. For the first time in the history of journalism, mass murderers were on camera telling us how they killed, why they killed, and with whose permission they did it. Nor were these just petty criminals; these were fanatics, ideologically driven, working the most dangerous faultline of the subcontinent, revealing the truth of a perilous rupture fully capable of tearing this country apart. (NOTE: Tarun Tejpal knows very well that these so-called criminals could well have been indulging in empty boasts i.e. boastful lies and may not have done anything they claimed to have done on camera, but he is adding spice. And if it does not occur to him that these people could have been indulging in empty lies, then he is not fit to be a journalist). But that was clearly not enough for the good man of Race Course Road. Had the CII burped loudly, the PMO would have issued a clarification. Had they then organised a seminar on the untimely burp, the prime minister would have addressed it.
It may be unfair to pillory the prime minister, a man given responsibility without power, the honest man sitting atop a dishonest hillock. Let us then look at the grand strategists of the Congress who cannot win an election themselves but know the secret of winning elections for the many. On their perverse abacus, exposing Modi’s hand in bestial murders and rapes was designed to convince the Gujarati Hindu that this is precisely the kind of leadership it wanted! (NOTE: Now he says Modi’s hand in rapes, again absolute trash! At least some stray accused lied on camera that Modi patted backs of rioters, but there were not even lies about rapes!) It never struck them that they could use the evidence of violence to shape a stirring dialogue against it.
THE FACT is the Congress is today run by petty strategists who no longer know what it is to do the right thing. They possess neither the illuminations of history, nor a vision for the future. They fail to see that once great men sutured a hundred fault-lines — of caste, religion, race, language, class — to create the idea of India out of a diverse, colonised, feudal subcontinent. Foolishly they preside over the reopening of these fault-lines, unable to see the chaos that will ensue. They do not know how to wield morality as a weapon in politics, and they lack the courage to walk any high road. At best they are vote accountants who waver between the profit and the loss of various elections.
The present Congress brings grief to the liberal, secular, democratic Indian who needs a political umbrella under which to wage the civilisational battle for India’s soul. By not saying the right thing, by not doing the right thing, it weakens the resolve of the decent Indian, who lacks the stomach for conflict and seeks affirmation of his decency. The vacated space is then colonised by poisonous ideologies based on exclusion and a garbled — pseudo-religious, pseudo-historic — hunt for identity…”
Tarun Tejpal’s statement should not let anyone be fooled into thinking that the Congress was not behind the Tehelka sting. The Congress could well be behind it. Tarun Tejpal in this same article had bemoaned the legal action taken against Tehelka by the erstwhile NDA government. If he reads this chapter fully, Tarun Tejpal will thank his stars that the BJP or Narendra Modi or any of the accused on camera have not sued Tehelka and him for damages worth 1000 crore rupees.
Now, let us get into the details of the so-called confessions of the people caught on camera. First we should all remember the context in which this sting operation was conducted. Tehelka reporter Ashish Khetan visited the people he caught on secret camera- and presented himself as an author aiming to write a book from the VHP point of view. He talked casually to these people on the riots- without telling them that the conversations were being recorded. This background will help a lot of people understand how these so-called confessions are boastful lies.
The ethics and morality of this sting operation are also questionable. Actually- those caught on camera can sue Tehelka for violation of privacy- because what was supposed to be a private conversation was made public- through deceit- the correspondent claimed to an author aiming to write a book on the Hindutva school of thought.
However, even assuming that the ethics of this sting operation were all right, let us see the details of the ‘confessions’. Here is what Babu Bajrangi- an accused in the riots said about Narendra Modi-
“AUGUST 10, 2007
TEHELKA: The day Patiya happened, didn’t Modi support you?
Bajrangi: He made everything all right, otherwise who would have had the strength… It was his hand all the way… If he’d told the police to do differently, they would have f****d us…. they could have… they had full control…
TEHELKA: They had control?
Bajrangi: They were very much in control all over the city, all over Gujarat… [But] for two days, Narendrabhai was in control…from the third day… a lot of pressure came from the top… Sonia-wonia and all came here…
• • •
TEHELKA: Didn’t Narendrabhai come to meet you [in jail]?
Bajrangi: If Narendrabhai comes to meet me, he’ll be in deep trouble… I didn’t expect to see him… Even today, I don’t expect it…
TEHELKA: Did he ever talk to you over the phone?
Bajrangi: That way I do get to speak to him… but not just like that… The whole world starts singing…
TEHELKA: But when you were absconding, then he…..
Bajrangi: Hmm… I did speak to him twice or thrice…
TEHELKA: He’d encourage you…
Bajrangi: Marad aadmi hai [he’s a real man], Narendrabhai… If he were to tell me to tie a bomb to myself and jump… it wouldn’t take even a second… I could sling a bomb around me and jump wherever I was asked to… for Hindus…
TEHELKA: Had he not been there, then Naroda Patiya, Gulbarg etc…
Bajrangi: Wouldn’t have happened. Would’ve been very difficult.
• • •
SEPTEMBER 1, 2007
TEHELKA: Did Narendrabhai come to Patiya the day of the massacre?
Bajrangi: Narendrabhai came to Patiya… He could not make it to the place of the incidents because there were commando-phamandos with him… But he came to Patiya, saw our enthusiasm and went away… He left behind a really good atmosphere…
TEHELKA: Said you were all blessed…
Bajrangi: Narendrabhai had come to see that things didn’t stop the next day… He went all around Ahmedabad, to all the places where the miyas [Muslims] were, to the Hindu areas… told people they’d done well and should do more…(Our comment: Is it possible to believe this?! Narendra Modi was v busy in Ahmedabad that and there were TV journalists and cameramen everywhere. Is it possible that Narendra Modi could have gone to all places where riots took place and thanked people?!!!)
• • •
Bajrangi: [After the massacre] the commissioner issued orders [against me]… I was told to leave my home… I ran away… Narendrabhai kept me at… the Gujarat Bhavan at MountAbu for four and- a-half months… After that, [I did] whatever Narendrabhai told me to… Nobody can do what Narendrabhai has done in – Gujarat
• • •
Bajrangi: Narendrabhai got me out of jail…… He kept on changing judges…. He set it up so as to ensure my release, otherwise I wouldn’t have been out yet… The first judge was one Dholakiaji… He said Babu Bajrangi should be hanged — not once, but four-five times, and he flung the file aside… Then came another who stopped just short of saying I should be hanged… Then there was a third one… By then, four-and-a-half months had elapsed in jail; then Narendrabhai sent me a message… saying he would find a way out… Next he posted a judge named Akshay Mehta… He never even looked at the file or anything…. He just said [bail was] granted… And we were all out… We were free….. For this, I believe in God… We are ready to die for Hindutva…”
(Courtesy: The official website of Tehelka for all the interview texts)
Now see his statement-“For two days they were in control”. This is a blatantly false statement- a boastful lie. We have seen in this book already that The Hindu- the leading most English daily of South India and a bitter critic of Narendra Modi- had reported on 2nd March 2002 that- “Unlike February 28 when one community
was entirely at the receiving end, the minority backlash on March 1 has further worsened the situation.”
This clearly shows that the Muslims were on the offensive on the second day of the riots. The Hindus or Narendra Modi weren’t at all in ‘complete control’.His statement that the police didn’t do anything is another lie. The Hindu reported on 1st March 2002- “(On Feb 28) At least 10 people were believed to have been killed in police firing by evening (in Ahmedabad alone)”. Uday Mahurkar also wrote in weekly India Today dated 18 March 2002 that the police shot dead 5 Hindus outside Ehsan Jafri’s house in Gulbarg locality on Feb 28 in Ahmedabad. Police shot 1,000 rounds on Feb 28- around 600 in Ahmedabad.
Babu Bajrangi also says that Narendra Modi came to Naroda Patiya on the day of the massacre- i.e. February 28. But the official records show that Narendra Modi did not visit that place that day. Uday Mahurkar also wrote in weekly India Today in the issue dated 12 November 2007-
“But the impact of the expose has been diluted to some extent by inaccuracies in the statements of those interviewed in the sting. Two out of the 14 caught speaking on camera say that one day after the Naroda Patiya massacre in Ahmedabad on Feb 28 (In which 89 Muslims were killed by a Hindu mob) Modi came to Naroda Patiya to thank them.
But the statements of Babu Bajrangi and Suresh Richard, key accused in the case, seem to be boastful lies as the official records show Modi didn’t go to Naroda Patiya on that day.”
As a matter of fact, Modi did not visit Naroda Patiya either on Feb 28, or on 1st March. Was it not the duty of Tehelka to cross-check and cross examine if the statements made by these people- while thinking that they are talking to a man writing a book from the Hindutva point of view- were boastful lies or real truths before making such serious charges on a Chief Minister and for that matter- these people?
Note that Babu Bajrangi talking about Narendra Modi helping him are BOASTFUL LIES. He wants to boast to the Tehelka reporter (thinking him to be a man writing a book from VHP point of view) that he (Bajrangi) has access to the big boss Narendra Modi and that he (Bajrangi) is a big enough guy to get direct favors from Narendra Modi. There is absolutely nothing more in this. Tehelka also knows very well that this is the case, that Bajrangi is simply bragging that he is important enough to know and get help from Narendra Modi (while the reality has been clarified by Narendra Modi in his leaked answers to the SIT that he (Modi) does not know Babu Bajrangi at all and heard his name only through the media months later).
As a matter of fact- none of these statements made by any of the 14 accused have any significance as evidence in any court of law in India. Confessions made intentionally on camera to police carry no value as evidence- only confessions made in court to a judge are regarded as evidence. These so-called confessions were made while casually talking to a person who secretly recorded the proceedings, and they are clearly boastful lies as we have seen the loopholes in them. Even if there were no inaccuracies- still the statements would have absolutely no value as evidence.
The statements on Naroda Patiya are again lies. The police also saved 900 Muslims in Naroda Patiya since 95 people were killed (after all missing were declared dead) and there were 1,000 Muslims there as reported by The Times of India with the mob aiming to kill everyone. The Times of India reported that the police escorted 400 Muslims to a safe place in the wee hours of 1 March (Friday) after dispersing the mob in the night of 28 Feb (Thursday), a number of them to the SRP (State Reserve Police) headquarters in the vicinity. This article also says: “Even as the SRP constables complain about their 48-hour vigil the wind blows up ashes of a gutted. “I am here for two days now without a shave and proper food,” an SRP constable complains…”Police has gained upper hand over the crowd and situation is under control,” Pravin Gondia, deputy commissioner of police, said. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2002-03-01/india/27126883_1_naroda-patia-mob-burns-minority-community
And all these statements about the judges are wrong. The Chief Minister cannot change judges directly. Judges appointment is done through a process which does not involve the Chief Minister!
Now let us see the statements of Ramesh Dave, a VHP activist-
“JUNE 12, 2007
Ramesh Dave: We went to the [VHP] office that night… the atmosphere was very disturbing… Everybody felt that [we had taken it] for so many years… Narendrabhai gave us great support…
TEHELKA: What was his reaction when he reached Godhra?
Dave: In Godhra, he gave a very strong statement… He was in a rage… He’s been with the Sangh from childhood… His anger was such… he didn’t come out into the open then but the police machinery was turned totally ineffective…”
(Official site of Tehelka)
The statement “All the police machinery was turned totally ineffective” is another lie- as we have seen- the police shot dead 10 Hindus in Ahmedabad on Feb 28- 5 outside Ehsan Jafri’s house. The Indian Express reported in its issue dated 28 February 2002- even before a single riot had happened that “The state government deployed the Rapid Action Force in Ahmedabad and other sensitive areas while the Centre sent in CRPF personnel”. Modi gave shoot-at-sight orders on Feb 27 at Godhra. There were 827 preventive arrests done on February 27 itself. The Hindustan Times dated 28 February 2002 also said that-“The entire police force of 70,000 had been deployed in Gujarat in view of apprehensions that riots might break out”. All this even before a single riot had taken place. Narendra Modi himself made 2 appeals to the people to maintain calm and not retaliate, one through media at Godhra on the evening of 27 February and the other he got recorded earlier and broadcast on National TV Doordarshan from 28 February afternoon onwards, every day, till the riots ended.We have seen in Chapter 2- Role of the Government in Controlling Violence the steps taken by the Gujarat Government to prevent violence.
Now let us see the interview with Haresh Bhatt- former Godhra MLA of the BJP and former national Vice-President of the Bajrang Dal-
“JUNE 1, 2007
TEHELKA: What was Narendra Modi’s reaction when the Godhra incident happened?
Haresh Bhatt: I can’t tell you this… but I can say it was favourable… because of the understanding we shared at that time…
TEHELKA: Tell me something… Did he…
Bhatt: I can’t give a statement… But what he did, no chief minister has ever done …
TEHELKA: I won’t quote it anywhere…For that matter… I am not even going to quote you
Bhatt: He had given us three days… to do whatever we could. He said he would not give us time after that… He said this openly…After three days, he asked us to stop and everything came to a halt…
TEHELKA: It stopped after three days… Even the army was called in.
Bhatt: All the forces came… We had three days… and did what we had to in those three days…
TEHELKA: Did he say that?
Bhatt: Yes… That is why I am saying he did what no chief minister can do…
TEHELKA: Did he speak to you?
Bhatt: I told you that we were at the meeting.
• • •
Bhatt: He had to run the government… the trouble he is facing now… there are several cases being re-opened… people are rebelling against him…
TEHELKA: People in the BJP are revolting against him…
Bhatt: People in the BJP… whatever he has done has made him a larger-than-life figure and the other politicians cannot bear to see that…”
(Official website of Tehelka)
Here again see his statement- “He gave us three days”. This is a lie propagated by the media right since March 2002 and innocent and well-meaning people have fallen for it. There were no 3 days given. CNN-IBN’s Hindi channel also alleged one day after these sting operations that- “There were given 3 days”. But The Hindu reported in its issue dated 1st March 2002 that- “(On Feb 28) The Army units- frantically called by the Chief Minister Narendra Modi…started arriving in Ahmedabad and are expected to be deployed by Friday(March 1) morning”.
This shows that the Chief Minister did not give any time- not even 3 minutes- not to talk of 3 days to anyone for killing. Instead he frantically called the Army. The riots began on February 28 at 11 AM while the Army units started arriving around 11 PM- i.e. within 12 hours the Army units reached Ahmedabad from the border areas. The then Defence Minister George Fernendes also reached Ahmedabad soon thereafter- at 1 AM on the morning of March 1- and in the morning he was bravely parading the streets of Ahmedabad at a great personal risk-on Modi’s request- as reported by The Indian Express dated 1st and 2nd March 2002. Moreover, The Indian Express reported the next day that the police shot dead 20 people in Gujarat on 1st March- 12 in Ahmedabad. The Hindu reported on 2nd March that the police shot dead at least 17 people in Ahmedabad alone on 1st March. And on the third day i.e. 2nd March- the Police shot dead 47 more people-as reported by The Hindu dated 3rd March 2002. The actual number of people killed on the 2nd day i.e. 1st March was more than the 20 reported by Indian Express since 24 Hindus were shot dead and 40 injured. It could be that when The Indian Express reported 20 dead, many were still alive and injured and died later to increase the number of those killed in police firing.
This is sufficient to understand that Haresh Bhatt’s statements are absolute lies. Moreover, Haresh Bhatt also claims that he was there at the meeting. The fact is that Narendra Modi did not meet Haresh Bhatt at Godhra on Feb 27. He went to Godhra and returned in the evening on the same day to Ahmedabad. Uday Mahurkar while writing in weekly India Today dated 12 November 2007 mentions that the official records show that Modi did not meet Bhatt that day in Godhra. Again, Haresh Bhatt is boasting that he was important enough a guy to be present in Narendra Modi’s (fictitious) meeting on 27 Feb in Godhra.
Now see the statements made by Suresh Richard- an accused in the riots-
“AUGUST 12, 2007
Suresh Richard: [On the day of the massacre] we did whatever we did till quite late in the evening… At around 7.30… around 7.15, our Modibhai came… Right here, outside the house… My sisters garlanded him with roses…(Is it possible to believe this? - these are laughable claims)
TEHELKA: Narendrabhai Modi…
Richard: Narendra Modi… He came with black commandos… got down from his Ambassador car and walked up here…. All my sisters garlanded him… a big man is a big man after all…
TEHELKA: He came out on the road?
Richard: Here, near this house…Then he went this way… Looked at how things were in Naroda…
TEHELKA: The day the Patiya incident happened…
Richard: The same evening…
TEHELKA: 28 February …
Richard: He went around to all the places… He said our tribe was blessed… He said our mothers were blessed [for bearing us]…
TEHELKA: He came at about 5 o’ clock or at 7?
Richard: Around 7 or 7.30… At that time there was no electricity… Everything had been burnt to ashes in the riots…
• • •
TEHELKA: Now, after that day when Narendrabhai Modi visited your home, the day of the Naroda Patiya massacre, has he ever been back here again?
Now again- we have seen that Modi did not visit Naroda Patiya that day- neither on Feb 28 nor on 1st March. As per the leaked answers of Narendra Modi to SIT in the questioning on 28 March 2010, Narendra Modi was addressing a press conference at Circuit House in Ahmedabad on the evening of 28 February. It takes just an iota of common sense to know that it is absolutely impossible for Narendra Modi to have actually gone to Naroda Patiya on 28 February evening at 7, 7:30 pm and patted the backs of the rioters. Note that no one made this allegation for almost 6 years, from February 2002 to Nov 2007 and even after Nov 2007 no one except for Tehelka will believe this. Actually neither will Tehelka believe this, but it will allege this. So these statements do not have the slightest meaning as evidence.
And Tehelka claimed that it had ‘irrefutable evidence’ of Modi’s involvement! On the contrary, there is ‘irrefutable evidence’ of the so-called confessions being meaningless and that Modi handled the riots extremely efficiently, stopped riots in three days while it had taken the previous Congress governments 6 months to stop riots in 1985 and 2-3 months in 1969, 1980, 1982-83. And on an average there were 3 riots in every 4 days in riots in Gujaratfor the decade of 1960s.
India Today weekly reported in its issue of 12 November 2007:
“There is a clamour among human rights activists for prosecuting Modi following the exposé. But as Nirupam Nanavati, Gujarat’s leading criminal lawyer and Congress leader says, “The statement of a co-accused is not admissible as evidence under the Indian Evidence Act.
Modi’s prosecution is possible only after Section 10 of the Act is pressed by the investigation agency to facilitate a fresh probe, which can lead to his implication based on evidence that might surface…”
We are seeing the full texts of the interviews published by Tehelka on its own site. We are seeing all the interviews that Tehelka has done. Here is the interview on Arvind Pandya- counsel for the Gujarat government.
“JUNE 6, 2007
Arvind Pandya: [The Muslims of Godhra] thought they could get away with it because the Gujarati is mild by nature. In the past, they had beaten the Gujarati, they have even beaten the entire world, and nobody has shown any courage… Nobody had ever resisted them… They thought they’d get away with it just like they always do, but they used to get away with it because there was Congress rule here earlier… To get their votes, the Congress would suppress Gujaratis and Hindus… But this time, they were thrashed… It is Hindu rule now… All of Gujarat is ruled by Hindus, and that too from the VHP and the BJP…
TEHELKA: They miscalculated…
Pandya: No, what would have happened… If it were a Congress government, then they would have never allowed Hindus to beat Muslims, they would have used their administrative force just to drag the Hindus down… They never stop [Muslims] from violence… They’ll tell Hindus to maintain peace but will never do anything to touch them [Muslims]… They would never have done anything, even in cases like [Godhra], but in this case, there was a Hindu-based government and… so, people were ready and the state was also ready… This is a good connivance [sic].
TEHELKA: This was the good fortune of the Hindu community… the entire Hindu samaj.
Pandya: And let us say the ruler was also strong in nature because he gave, just take the revenge and I am ready… We must first salute Kalyan Singh because he accepted every kind of liability before the Supreme Court, saying… I did this, I was the party….
TEHELKA: Later on, when he changed the party…
Pandya: He did, but he was the founder person, he just stood before the Supreme Court boldly and said that I am the person…
TEHELKA: Took sole responsibility.
Pandya: Thereafter, the second hero by the name of… Narendra Modi came and he gave oral instructions to the police to remain with the Hindus, because the entire kingdom is with the Hindus.
JUNE 8, 2007
TEHELKA: Sir, is it true that when Modi went to Godhra on February 27, that VHP workers attacked him?
Pandya: No, they didn’t. (This is another lie. They did manhandle him)It’s like this… There are 58 bodies… and it’s evening…people are bound to say, what have you done…
TEHELKA: From 8 in the morning till evening, he didn’t land up… So, when things got heated, then Modi ji got angry and he…
Pandya: No it’s not like that… Modi’s been on our line for a long time… Forget that matter… But he’s occupying a post, so naturally there are more limitations… and he has quite a few… It is he who gave all signals in favour of the Hindus… If the ruler is hard, then things can start happening…
TEHELKA: Did you meet… Narendra Modi after he returned from Godhra on the 27th?
Pandya: No, I will not answer queries on this… I shouldn’t…
TEHELKA: Sir, I want to know what was his first reaction?
Pandya: When Narendra Modi first heard it over the phone, his blood was boiling… Tell me, what else do I say… I’ve given you some hints and I can’t reveal more than that… nor should I say it…
TEHELKA: I wanted to know this… what his first reaction was…
Pandya: No, his reaction was like this: if he were not a minister, he would have burst bombs… If he had the capacity and was not a minister he would have detonated a few bombs in Juhapura [a Muslim dominated locality in Ahmedabad].”
Both the important statements made by Pandya have been highlighted. The first- that Modi gave ‘oral’ instructions to the police to remain with Hindus. This is again false- because as we have seen by now there were 98 people shot dead by police in the first three days alone, majority of whom are Hindus. On February 28- ALL the people shot dead by police were Hindus.
The second statement- if he was not a minister and he had the capacity he would have detonated bombs in Juhapura is also irrelevant. In the entire state no one detonated bombs not only in Juhapura but also in any other Muslim area.
But Pandya has made a stunning charge against Tehelka. He claims that he was asked to say all this by Aaj Tak scribe Dhimant Purohit- who is his friend- after telling him that this is for a TV serial! After this exposure- he filed a defamation suit against Tehelka- on various charges- which prompted Purohit to seek anticipatory bail. Pandya’s statement that when Modi went to Godhra VHP workers did not attack him is also incorrect. The Times of India’s website reported on 27 February itself that Modi was manhandled by an irate mob of VHP supporters.
Now let us see the interview of Rajendra Vyas- Ahmedabad VHP chief-
“JUNE 8, 2007
TEHELKA: I wanted to know… about Narendra Modi… what were his first words [after the Godhra train incident]? What did he tell all of you? …
Rajendra Vyas: He first said that we would take revenge… the same thing I myself had said publicly… I hadn’t even eaten anything then… Hadn’t even had a drop of water… I was in such a rage that so many people had died, tears were flowing from my eyes… but when I started using my strength… started abusing… he [Modi] said, Rajendrabhai, calm yourself, everything will be taken care of… What did he mean when he said that everything would be taken care of? … All those who were meant to understand, understood…”
There is of course- no evidence to support that Modi said any of this. And there is evidence to show that he did none of this. We have seen how efficiently and with a limited police force, even after a shocking massacre like Godhra Modi controlled the riots in 3 days. Also, Rajendra Vyas himself may not have done anything like this and just indulged in empty talk. That’s what seems most likely! VHP itself made appeals for peace and urged Hindus not to retaliate. Acharya Giriraj Kishore said this, and a Gujarat VHP leader urged every Hindu to ‘stay indoors’ on 28 Feb, the next day. Naturally, staying indoors would mean not retaliating and maintaining peace.
Now let us again see the other statements of people on camera- on what they said about the police. To begin with- Babu Bajrangi:
“SEPTEMBER 1, 2007
Nobody can do what Narendrabhai has done in Gujarat. If I didn’t have Narendrabhai’s support, we would not have been able to avenge Godhra… because the police was standing right in front of us, seeing all that was happening, but they had shut their eyes and mouths… At that time, had the police wanted, they would never have let us in… There was just one entry, like a housing society has, and then Patiya begins… If they wanted to stop us, there were 50 of them there, they could have stopped us… We had good support from the police… because of Narendrabhai… and that is because whatever happened in Gujarat, happened for the best. We got some relief from these people [the Muslims]… they had got so high and daring…
• • •
The Muslims kept making calls to the police, kept running to the police… They had one man called Salem… supposed to be a sort of Naroda Patiya dada… he got into a police jeep… got right inside… I myself caught him and dragged him out… The cops said kill him, if he’s left alive, he’ll testify against us… He was taken a little way away and finished off right there… If the bastard had lived, he would have said he’d climbed into a police jeep and was thrown out, things like that…
• • •
[By the end, there were about 700- 800 bodies.] They were all removed… The Commissioner came that night and said that if there were so many dead at one place, it would create trouble for him… So he had the corpses picked up and dumped all over Ahmedabad… When they were brought to the CivilHospital for the post-mortem, they were said to be from this place or that…
• • •
AUGUST 10, 2007
At 2.30 that night, I called the police inspector [Mysorewala]… He said don’t come here [to the station]… There were dekho to [shoot at sight] orders against me… Wherever Babu Bajrangi was found, he was to be shot… He told me to run away… our Mysorewala… He said he couldn’t do a thing for me… I wasn’t even to tell anyone he’d called… But even so, he sent a rider to my house… you can imagine how my children felt at that time…
• • •
[Four months later] Narendrabhai told me… there was a lot of pressure on him… The media, TV, so much coverage… Babu Bajrangi is a goonda… Laloo complained in Parliament about my not being caught… So Narendrabhai asked me to surrender… I said, alright saheb, if you tell me to, I will give myself up… I surrendered near Gandhinagar… it was all a big drama… all a drama… the police, the Crime Branch, had been told I would be passing through that area… PP Pandey saheb, who was [joint] commissioner in the Crime Branch then, he was there too and some 12 or 13 cars came… These people waited on the road from Biloda to Gandhinagar… they checked a few cars… I had to land up… it was part of the act… If I’d gone straight to the Crime Branch, the media and the NGOs would have ripped me apart… It was all a drama… they caught me, tied me up with rope… all drama… They told me they were tying me up just for show…”
Now again all this has little value. Because as we have seen his earlier statement that “Modi came to Naroda Patiya on Feb 28” is false. The statement that 700-800 bodies were there in Naroda is another lie. This is because only 95 people were killed in the riots in Naroda Patiya that too after all missing were declared dead. Earlier figure was 83. We have also seen how the police, instead of allowing any killings to take place actually saved 900 Muslims in the episode and escorted 400 Muslims to safety after dispersing the mob. Also, all details of a man named Salem seem to be very suspicious. After the sting, Babu Bajrangi denied having led any mob in Naroda Patiya, and he may well have been indulging in boastful lies about his own role. His statements on role of police and Narendra Modi are of course lies. There is a saying “Jo bhaukte hein, vo kaatte nahi” (Those who bark do not bite). Those who brag and bluff are very timid from inside, is what is a saying.
On this issue the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has maintained a complete silence. Hence we have not been able to know many loopholes of this operation. When Bajrangi actually surrendered, at what place, and in what circumstances needs to be checked thoroughly. The statement that-“There were 50 policemen but they didn’t do anything” seems to be another lie. This is because weekly India Today reports in its issue dated 18 March 2002 that- “At Naroda Patiya, the scene of the worst carnage, there was no police presence worth the name…”
Uday Mahurkar wrote-“ 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.
What’s more, the police was expecting trouble in Ahmedabad’s walled city, which has been the scene of communal violence in every riot in the past two decades. This time, however, it wasn’t the walled city where the troubles began. At Naroda Patia, the scene of the worst carnage, there was no police presence worth the name to prevent the mobs from grouping in the morning and going on a rampage. There were at least three mobs of 4,000 to 5,000 each attacking Muslims.”
Months later, The Hindu reported on 20th August 2004 that-
“Inadequate police force
According to (former police inspector of Naroda) Mr. Mysorewala, the Naroda police station with 80 policemen was adequate in normal times but the situation on February 28 was unprecedented and was quickly going out of control.
He said he had asked for police reinforcement and was given 24 additional SRP men but even that was inadequate considering the size of the attacking mob, about 17,000 people. ”
This is what K. K. Mysorewala told the Nanavati Commission on 19 Aug 2004. Also, whether Laloo Yadav really asked for the arrest of Babu Bajrangi in Parliament is not known and is most likely untrue.
Now see what Suresh Richard about the role of the police:
“AUGUST 12, 2007
The police were with us… I can tell you so myself even now… the police… That day was great… They were shooting right in front of us… They must have killed 70 or 80 or more… didn’t even spare women…
• • •
We’d finished burning everything and had come back… That was when the police called us… They said Muslims were hiding in the gutter… Now when we went there, we saw their houses had all been burned down but seven or eight of them had hidden in the drain… We closed the lid on it… if we’d gone in after them, we might have been in danger… We closed the lid and placed big boulders on it… Later on, they found eight or ten corpses in there… They’d hidden to save their lives, but we closed it off and they died of the gases down there… This happened in the evening… the dhamaal went on till night, till about 8.30…”
Again- this man has spoken boastful lies about Modi’s role- these are more lies. When the police were overwhelmingly outnumbered by mobs of the size of 17,000 as we understand by Mysorewala’s testimony before the Nanavati Commission as well as Uday Mahurkar’s report- they certainly did not kill “70 or 80 or more” people. Far from it, they escorted 400 Muslims to safety and saved the lives of more than 900 Muslims in this episode. This is because, in the entire killings at Naroda Patiya, only 95 people were killed. And police shot dead 10 Hindus in Ahmedabad on February 28. Nobody has ever alleged- no Muslim survivor of Naroda Patiya or anyone else that the “Police killed 70 or 80 or more Muslims in Naroda Patiya”. His inaccuracies actually make it seem that this man may not have been present in Naroda at all on that day!
Ahmedabad VHP chief Rajendra Vyas said about the role of the police:
“Rajendra Vyas: As chief minister, Narendrabhai couldn’t say “Kill all the Muslims.” I could say it publicly because I was from the VHP… Pravinbhai Togadia can say it… But he [Modi] can’t say it… But it’s like how we say it in Gujarati, “aa khada kaan khada” [to turn a blind eye]… meaning, he gave us a free run to do whatever we wanted to since we were already fed up of the Muslims… The police was with us… Please understand what I’m trying to say — the police was on our side, and so was the entire Hindu samaj… Bhai [Modi] was careful about that… or else the police would have been on the other side….
TEHELKA: Yes, if it had been a Congress government…
Vyas: Then the result would have been the opposite…
TEHELKA: But the police are after all Hindu. What I want to know is what stand did they take then?
Vyas: They didn’t go near the Muslims… [though] when people would call them up, they’d say they were coming… That’s what they did at that time… The other thing they did was tell people that they could do whatever they wanted… they wouldn’t do a thing…”
Now these are again lies. But see- no mentions of police killing 70 or 80 or more Muslims in Naroda Patiya! But the police did not turn a blind eye to the rioting. They shot dead at least 10 Hindus in Ahmedabad alone on Feb 28, and many more on the next two days- so much so that anti-Modi newspapers like The Indian Express and The Hindu reported it. We have also seen report of The Times of India which proves that police saved the lives of more than 900 Muslims and escorted 400 Muslims to safety after dispersing the mob. This despite the fact that the police were overwhelmingly outnumbered with the mob being 17,000- strong, with police only being 80 plus 24 more men making it 104.
M.S.University accountant Dheemant Bhatt said-
“MAY 9, 2007
Some 50 people like myself had special permission from the police commissioner… to move in curfew areas to help… in order to maintain the peace and law and order… That was just an excuse… I am very open… clear [about it]… But how were we to help the Hindus? At that time, there wasn’t even a stick of wood in Hindu homes. So what were we to do?… We took iron pipes… three feet each… iron bars, and if there were people from the Bajrang Dal, then trishuls… The Bajrang Dal people had a plan for putting together the samaan [weapons] and we went and supplied them to key persons in various localities… It was very necessary…”
These facts need to be investigated. If for argument’s sake we assume what he says is true- did the police give him permission intentionally? And it seems highly unlikely that they did- they seem to be more lies. But if he is guilty, he should be punished.
Dhawal Jayanti Patel said-
“TEHELKA: After Godhra, when you made bombs and sent them to Ahmedabad, didn’t the police stop you on the way?
Patel: We concealed them from the police… the police would also let us go… If you say Jai Shri Ram, it matters… After all they were Hindus, they also understood…”
This is again dubious- whether he really made bombs. But if his confession is true- how is this an indictment of the police? He clearly says that he ‘hid’ the bombs from the police. If the police was involved in the rioting- would he have needed to ‘hide’ the bombs? And there are no records of bombs being used on February 28 at all.
Now see the statement made by VHP’s zilla mantri in Kalupur area of Ahmedabad, Ramesh Dave-
“JUNE 12, 2007
The police were very helpful… very helpful… That’s why when the human rights people came… when they saw everything… they said the politicians had a role in it all… the police too, in fact, everyone who belonged to the [Hindu] samaj… because, after all, what were the police?… The police were Hindu too. The thing was, they were under pressure from the government… If they wanted to do something, they couldn’t…
[SK] Gadvi saheb was a new DCP here… Curfew was on and he was patrolling about… I went up to him on my cycle and said namaskar to him… How are you out in curfew hours, he asked… I am a maharaj, I said, I can go wherever I please… Up till then, he didn’t know I was from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad… Then he said he wanted to climb to the top of a nearby temple… I asked him what it was he wanted to do there… He said a lot of Muslims from outside were sitting there and he wanted to set them straight…
I said, if you want to set them straight, then there’s a spot I can take you to… But you have to promise me that you’ll kill at least four or five of them there… He promised…
Then we went to that place… He said he’d been there before… I said, forget whether you’ve been here or not… There was a house which was locked, I had the key sent for and we went to the terrace. From there, the place was straight ahead… He started firing from the terrace, and before we knew it he’d killed five people…
Gadvi saheb would tell us never to take his name anywhere, but all the policemen helped us… they all did… One shouldn’t say it, but they even gave us cartridges…”