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Mainstream, VOL XLIX, No 43, October 15, 2011

Hounded by the State

Wednesday 19 October 2011, by Humra Quraishi


I wonder why hasn’t Anna Hazare and his associates spoken out against this latest hounding of those who dare speak out, who dare to question and raise some unsettling queries. After all, corruption cannot be limited to currency alone. It has a wider and bigger reach, and is linked to the political mafia which seems holding sway.

Anna Hazare ought to have come out in support of the suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and the other Gujarat cadre officers who are getting hounded by the Sate. It’s one officer after another … those who have shown the very courage to speak out and raise the rebel banner. And after Sanjiv Bhatt’s open letter to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, comes this letter written by the 1971 batch IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre — R.B. Sreekumar. In fact, he is the first whistle-blower cop of that State and in his letter to Modi he has minced no words, hitting out. I quote from it: “Our Upanishadic wisdom speaks about symmetry of thinking and action in a person—Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavanti — ‘A person be as his mind’. Looking to your government’s performance since 2002, it appears that there is conspicuous mismatch between your much publicised objectives of the fast, on the one side, and the bitter truths about ground situation, on the other. This does not mean that the Upanishadic dictum is wrong because in actuality your intrinsic mind is not for goodwill to all, but for a few only.... As the head of the State Government, many feel that you have visibly followed your hidden agenda of ‘malice to the upright and the honest government officers and charity to the syco-phants and collaborators in your unholy designs’. Facts in support of this testimony are plenty. You have rewarded practically all those government officers who actively participated, through their acts of commission and omission, in violation of their oath of allegiance to the Constitution of India, in the planning and execution of anti-minority genocide in 2002 after the most condemnable Godhra train-burning incident. This genocide will remain an inerasable sinful blot on our country, particularly to the practitioners of Hinduism of Upanishad and Bhagvad Gita. Those, who got rewards for their alleged deviant services to you, include officers, who were given extension in service, good postings and post retirements lucrative assignments. …”

In fact, Sreekumar goes on to detail names and specific backgrounders of all those IPS and IAS officers of the Gujarat cadre who ‘helped’ Modi carry out his ‘agenda’ and with that sat suitably rewarded with great postings and greater extensions.

Needless to add that those who stood up and vetoed his moves were not just sidelined or bypassed but severely punished. To quote Sreekumar, “As you know among the govern-ment officials, who were victims of unwarranted punishments by your government, myself led the list. Ever since I presented facts about riots ‘falsifying’ the State Government version to the Central Election Commission on 9.8.2002, I was issued with memos on trivial matters like Control Room Head Constable sending a secret message by fax to field officers, without my knowledge, by ACS (Home) Ashok Narayanan. Further the government started an inquiry against me for writing to the CP Ahmedabad, K.R. Kaushik, about the alleged planting of weapons (firearms) by DIG D.G. Vanzara, the then i/c of the Ahmedabad City Crime Branch, on a few Muslims of Dariapur on the 2002 Rathyatra day. You may please note that this was the only adverse report about the alleged illegal acts of Vanzara in the Gujarat Police records before his arrest for the alleged fake encounter in April 2007. Instead of probing my information about Vanzara, the Chief Secretary started an inquiry against me, for punishing me even though the then DGP, K. Chakravarthi, reported that my act of reporting against Vanzara was part of my normal duties and so could not be treated as misconduct. Sir, had you checked Vanzara and monitored his work, accepting my report, he would not have indulged in alleged extra-judicial killings of innocent people. Now these cases have brought bad name for your administration and the Gujarat Police. This was an instance of saving a thief (chor) and punishing the policeman (kotwal), who pointed a finger at the thief…. Later, I was superseded on February 2005 and was served with a nine-point chargesheet in September 2005, for dismissing me from service —for the alleged fault of telling truth before the judicial commission, in my three affidavits at that juncture. Thanks to the high standards of wisdom, fortitude and integrity of the Indian judiciary, the government was forced to order my promotion with retrospective effect and my chargesheet was also quashed by the judicial bodies. Others, who have been facing the unwarranted wrath of your government for their good work, include these IPS officers— Rahul Sharma, Vivek Srivastava, Himanshu Bhatt, M.D. Antani, Satish Verma, H.R. Gehlot, P.C. Thakur, Kuldeep Sharma, A.K. Surolia and one IAS officer—J.S. Rana, who is even denied pension…”

As one reads more details from this letter, one is left feeling helpless, with hopelessness mounting. If senior civil servants can be so systemically hounded by the political rot, then what must the fate of the commoner or an activist who raises his or her voice? In fact, the latest activist to face the government’s wrath is Kavita Srivastava—the Jaipur based PUCL national secretary. Earlier this week her home was raided by cops—Chhattisgarh cops assisted by the Rajasthan cops. Perhaps, relaying a subtle message—that one who dares could be targeted…

YES, it continues …Several books released, including Subhash Gatade’s The Saffron Condition: Politics of Repression and Exclusion of Neoliberal India (Three Essays Collective). As the title more than hints, Gatade focuses on the Right-wing thrust in Indian polity, “… the ultra-Right and Hindu nationalist political formations may have temporarily lost out in the race to retain governmental power at the Centre and may appear in disarray, but the agenda of the RSS sponsored Hindutva project for the Hindu rashtra is very much in the reckoning and enjoys widespread State complicity. The impact of neo-liberalism and majoritarianism and their conse-quences for democracy and human rights are meticulously documented…”

And another book hitting the stands is Making Sense of Ayodhya Verdict. Published by Vitasta Publishing, and edited by Ram Puniyani and Asghar Ali Engineer, it focuses on the Ayodhya judgement and also on those vital backgrounders which include the archaeological-cum-historical aspects and, of course, those political implications for times to come …

I’D first read these lines in the Gujarat cadre cop Sanjiv Bhatt’s letter to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, and now over the last couple of weeks, they are echoing from all over, as they have the potential to hit… And as mentioned by Sanjiv Bhatt, these lines have been penned by Bhuchung Sonam, an alumnus of MS University, Baroda. …

I have principle and no power
You have power and no principle
You being you
And I being I
Compromise is out of the question
So let the battle begin...
I have truth and no force
You have force and no truth
You being you
And I being I
Compromise is out of the question
So let the battle begin...
You may club my skull
I will fight
You may crush my bones
I will fight
You may bury me alive
I will fight
With truth running through me
I will fight
With every ounce of my strength
I will fight
With my last dying breath
I will fight...
I will fight till the
Castle that you built with your lies
Comes tumbling down
Till the devil you worshipped with your lies
Kneels down before my angel of truth.
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